Seek a second opinion – make sure it is from an oncologist with a specialty in the field of your diagnosis.
Check out clinicaltrials.gov once a week to see if you qualify for a trial.
If you have surgery, make sure that your tissue samples are saved, and that your genes are tested for mutations. This information is crucial, as more and more Immunotherapy treatment will become available.
Find out if Palliative care is offered in your area. Create a parallel relationship to your oncologist with a Palliative oncologist team for early help with the management of symptoms and psychosocial support. If Palliative care is not offered in your area, find out more about your options at this link.
Ask how your disease might manifest itself as it grows. If, for example, your cancer causes abdominal distention, you should take a baseline measurement so you can continually monitor changes.
Research new medicines and discuss their efficacy with your physician(s). It’s tedious, but investing time doing a Google search for solutions to your specific disease will advance your understanding.
Take an active role in understanding medical concepts and terminology that can be overwhelming. For example, you can ask to see your pathology report (and/or have slides shown to you by the pathologist using a teaching microscope) for an explanation of “clear margins.”
Do not be concerned if your local physician is aware that you are collaborating with another physician(s). In most cases, they will be pleased to work with one another. Your well being takes priority over any possibility of hurt feelings.
Please be mindful that your nurses are your lifeline. As the saying goes: “You get more flies with honey than with vinegar.” Be respectful, and they will go the extra mile for you.
No matter how small or large are your assets, you don’t want them tied up in probate court for years. Talk with an attorney about executing a Will and Living Trust.
Live your life to the fullest each day, and at the same time, make future plans for you and your loved ones while you are fully capable of doing so.