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Rectal Cancer Treatment: Remembering Questions and Answers

Many people with rectal cancer want to take an active part in making decisions about their medical care. It is natural to want to learn all you can about your disease and rectal cancer treatment choices. Knowing more about rectal cancer helps many people cope with the disease.
Shock and stress after the rectal cancer diagnosis can make it hard to think of everything you want to ask your doctor. It often helps to make a list of rectal cancer questions before an appointment. To help remember what the doctor says, you may take notes or ask whether you may use a tape recorder. You may also want to have a family member or friend with you when you talk to the doctor -- to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen. You do not need to ask all your questions at once. You will have other chances to ask your doctor or nurse to explain things that are not clear and to ask for more details.
Your doctor may refer you to a specialist, or you may ask for a referral. Specialists who treat rectal cancer include surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists. You also may be referred to a plastic surgeon.

Getting a Second Opinion

Before starting rectal cancer treatment, you might want a second opinion about your diagnosis and rectal cancer treatment plan. Many insurance companies cover a second opinion if you or your doctor requests it. It may take some time and effort to gather medical records and arrange to see another doctor. You may have to gather biopsy slides, pathology reports, and proposed rectal cancer treatment plan. Usually, it is not a problem to take several weeks to get a second opinion. In most cases, the delay in starting rectal cancer treatment will not make treatment less effective. To make sure, you should discuss this delay with your doctor. Some people with rectal cancer need treatment right away.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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