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Bile Duct Cancer: Treatment Questions

Talking with healthcare providers about cancer can be overwhelming. It can be hard to take in all of the information. It helps to be prepared. Make a list of questions and bring them to your appointments. Write down the answers.

Make sure you ask how the treatment will change your daily life, including your diet, activity, and how you will look and feel after treatment. Ask how well treatment is expected to work, and what the risks and possible side effects are.

You may also want to ask a friend or family member to go with you. They can take notes and write down the answers. They can also ask questions you may not think of. You can ask your healthcare provider if you can record the conversation.

Here are some questions you may want to ask:

Deciding on a treatment

  • What is the stage of my cancer?

  • Has the cancer spread outside of my bile ducts or anywhere else in my body?

  • What are my treatment choices?

  • How much experience do you have treating this kind of cancer?

  • Do I need to be treated right away?

  • What treatments do you think are best for me and why?

  • What treatments do you think are not right for me and why?

  • What are the goals of the treatment you are recommending?

  • What's the success rate of this treatment for my stage of bile duct cancer?

  • Will treatment affect my sex life or ability to have children?

  • How quickly do I need to decide on a treatment plan?

  • Are there any clinical trials I should look into?

  • Will my insurance cover these treatments?

  • How much will I have to pay for treatment?

  • Should I get a second opinion?

 Getting ready for treatment

  • What is the length of the treatment period?

  • How long will each treatment take?

  • Where do I have to go for the treatment?

  • Who will give me the treatment?

  • Does someone need to go with me during treatments?

  • Can I drive myself or take public transportation to treatment?

  • Can I take my other medicines during treatment?

  • Will I be able to work during treatment?

  • What can I do to get ready for treatment?

  • Do you have someone on staff who can help me with transportation, finances, and other resources?

 Coping during treatment

  • What side effects should I expect?

  • How long will side effects last?

  • Are there side effects that I need to call you about?

  • How do I get help after hours and on holidays or weekends?

  • What can I do about side effects?

  • Should I change my diet? What foods can't I eat?

  • Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?

  • Are there support groups nearby or online that I can join?

After treatment

  • How will I feel after the treatment?

  • What long-term side effects do I need to watch for?

  • What type of follow-up will I need after treatment?

  • How will we know if treatment worked?

  • What are my options if the treatment doesn't work, or if the cancer comes back?

Making a decision

When you have the answers from your healthcare providers, it's time to think about your preferences. Think about what side effects you can and can't tolerate. Talk about all of your concerns with your healthcare provider before making your treatment decision.

Online Medical Reviewer: Jessica Gotwals RN BSN MPH
Online Medical Reviewer: Melinda Murray Ratini DO
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 5/1/2023
© 2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.