Communicating With Your Healthcare Team

Work with your healthcare team to create a written survivorship care plan. All cancer survivors should receive a survivorship care plan.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada 2 minute read November 13, 2020

Work with your healthcare team to create a written survivorship care plan. All cancer survivors should receive a survivorship care plan.

Tips For Communicating With Your Healthcare Team

  • Ask who you should contact for follow-up care. Will your care transfer to your family doctor or will you continue to see your hematologist/ oncologist regularly? Ask who to reach out to if you have questions or concerns between appointments.
  • Keep a list of your questions in a designated notebook and take it with you to all appointments. If you feel like a question cannot wait until your next appointment or a concern causes you anxiety, reach out to your healthcare team.
  • Use a calendar app on your mobile phone or another method to remember all of your follow-up appointments. You may schedule appointments months in advance so they may be easy to forget.
  • Ask how you can access your patient portal.
  • Many hospitals and treatment centers now offer patient portals where you can view your upcoming appointments, message your providers, view and pay bills, and more.
  • Tell your healthcare team if you have any new side effects, or if your existing side effects are getting worse.
  • Update your healthcare team of new diagnoses, medications, surgeries, procedures or hospitalizations.
  • Do not start or stop taking any medications, vitamins, or supplements without consulting your doctor.
  • Tell your healthcare team about your family plans such as pregnancy, breastfeeding, or plans to conceive.
  • Let your healthcare team know of any changes to your contact information.

Survivorship Care Plan Checklist

Your survivorship care plan should include the following information:

  • List all of your healthcare providers: family doctor, hematologist-oncologist, radiation oncologist, etc.
  • Diagnosis summary with specifics such as stage, sites of involvement, and molecular or genetic markers
  • Treatment summary with specifics such as names of chemotherapy or biological agents used, radiation (type, dose, site), response to treatment, and side effects
  • Maintenance treatment information with the name of medication, dosage, and duration
  • Follow-up appointment scheduling with coordinating provider and frequency
  • Schedule for ongoing monitoring with recommended tests and frequency
  • List of possible late- and long-term side effects
  • Health and wellness lifestyle recommendations such as nutrition, exercise, other cancer and diseases screenings, and referrals to specialists (as needed) to assist with these recommendations

All of your questions are important. Do not feel embarrassed to ask them. You deserve to have your concerns addressed.

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