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What Questions Should I Ask As I Select a Doctor?

The type of doctor or doctors that you need for your treatment may depend on the type of cancer you have and stage of the disease. However, in general, the best cancer care is provided by a team of doctors, nurses and others – from a range of specialties including surgery, medical oncology and radiation oncology – to make sure you get the best and most comprehensive treatment plan for your needs.

Among the questions you should ask as you select your doctor or treatment team:

  • Does this doctor or surgeon have the education and training to meet my needs?
  • Does this doctor or surgeon work as part of a multi-disciplinary team that specializes in my type of cancer?
  • Does this doctor or surgeon see patients at the treatment facility I’ve chosen?
  • Is the doctor board-certified and if so, in what specialties?
  • Has this doctor been evaluated by a professional society such as the American College of Surgeons?
  • What types of cancer does this doctor or surgeon treat?
  • How many patients with my type of cancer does this doctor or surgeon treat?
  • How often does this surgeon perform the type of surgery that I need? What are his or her success rates?
  • Is this doctor or surgeon involved in research and clinical trials?
  • What new technologies or surgical procedures does this doctor or surgeon offer?
  • Who covers for this doctor or surgeon when he or she is away? Does this person have access to my records?
  • How long to get an appointment with this doctor or surgeon?
  • Does this doctor or surgeon listen to me and treat me with respect?
  • Does this doctor or surgeon explain things clearly?
  • Who else is on the treatment team? What are their qualifications and expertise?
  • Is this doctor covered by my health plan?

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