Cancer Surgery? Questions To Ask Your Doctor

A lot of people in the world undergo surgeries every day. It is of immense significance that the patient should be made aware of all the possible outcomes, risks and precautions for safe treatment and good quality of life in future.

What you need to know about surgery:

Surgery is a big step. Dealing with surgery can be very serious, and it includes considering the health benefits, risks, and side effects of the procedure.

Once diagnosed and given the news that cancer surgery is necessary, there will be questions running through your mind. Learn all about the condition, diagnosis, and treatment methods. Take note of all your questions before facing surgery. Your surgeon should answer these questions. Determining the effects, advantages, and disadvantages of the procedure will help you to come up with the best decisions for your treatment.

General questions about cancer surgery:

  • What type of surgery am I having?
  • Why should I consider surgery? How will I benefit? What are the possible outcomes?
  • What are my other options to treat cancer?
  • What is my surgeon’s experience doing this type of surgery and how many has he/she done? How successful were these procedures?
  • Are there any materials, pictures, or videos about the surgery that I can look at?
  • How long is the recovery period? When can I resume my daily routine?
  • Do I have time to think about my options or to get a second opinion?

Getting a second opinion

While dealing with surgery, you will have to consider confirmation from more than one source. It can be a very difficult time to decide. You can ask another surgeon for a second opinion about the suggested operation. If you are unhappy, or would like to consider another option or course of treatment, discuss it with the surgeon. Sometimes, surgeons may ask a colleague to provide a second opinion. It is important that you feel confident about your decision to have surgery.

Make some lists of questions for the second doctor. Concentrate on what brought you to get a second opinion. Get all the information you need. Take your medical records with you, or you may have your doctor send them over to the new doctor. Your family and friends can be involved, because they may be able to think more clearly than you can on your own. They can get a second opinion on your behalf, but only with your consent. It is important to ask questions about cancer surgery and its health risks.

Questions to ask about preparation before the surgery

You should be physically and emotionally prepared before surgery, so consider asking your doctor the following questions:

  • How do I prepare for the surgery?
  • What happens during the surgery?
  • The type of anesthesia I will be given?
  • How big will the incision be and where?
  • How long will the surgery take?
  • How difficult is it to cope with the stress and tolerate the effects of drugs administered, especially anesthesia, after surgery?
  • Other important questions may include:
  • What are the risks and possible side effects involved? What are the chances of death or disability?
  • What will happen if I refuse to have the operation?
  • How much improvement can I expect from the surgery?

After Surgery:

You may also want to discuss these questions about post-operative issues.

  • Will there be physical therapy involved?
  • How long is the recovery period?
  • What types of aftercare will be needed?


Surgery is something that requires patient’s satisfaction referring to the outcomes of treatment. It increases one’s confidence in the doctor. You can ask questions about the procedure, precautions, and outcomes expected before surgery and what happens after the surgery.



  1. Making treatment decisions
  2. Questions to ask your doctor about cancer surgery
  3. Questions to ask your doctor about cancer surgery – research UK
  4. Questions to ask before surgery