Power of information
Though many people have trouble speaking up or are afraid of questioning their doctor’s authority, it’s important that conversations about your health be a two-way dialogue between you and your clinician.
In October 2013, I received the scariest news that I have ever gotten. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. My current job as an educator with Michigan State University Extension allows me to be part of various research studies. By being involved in those research projects it helped me to want to read, research, ask questions and be informed when I went to visit my doctors.
One of the most important things you can do during a doctor’s appointment is to ask questions. Though many people have trouble speaking up or are afraid of questioning their doctor’s authority, it’s important that conversations about your health be a two-way dialogue between you and your clinician. By asking questions, you can get vital information on:
- What tests you will need
- What your diagnosis means
- What your treatment options are
- What steps you will need to take to make sure you or your loved one gets better
It may help to write down your questions ahead of time to bring with you to the appointment, and to have a friend or family member come with you to help take notes to remember what the doctor says.
During my initial visit with my oncologist, I was not comfortable with the answers that she was giving me. So my husband and I sought a second opinion. The oncologist who we sought after for the second opinion was very open to the questions that I brought with me. After that I felt comfortable with the chosen treatment plan that was laid out for me.
Asking questions is important at every stage of your health care, whether during a routine check-up or during a hospital stay. It is especially important when you are diagnosed with something like cancer. As a result of my desire to be an informed patient, Jan. 7, 2015 I was chosen by Goshen IU Health to interview for their “Eye on Cancer” spotlight. By sharing my story I hope to inspire others to ask questions and be more involved in their own health care all the time.