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visiting the doctor

Visiting the doctor can be scary no matter whether you’re a teen or an adult. Talking with your doctor and asking questions can also be difficult. You may not understand what your doctor says when they use fancy medical terms.  Here are some tips for making it easier to communicate with your health care team:
  • Prepare for your doctor’s visit with a written list of questions – visiting the doctor can be overwhelming, especially when you are talking about something as important as health. It’s a good idea to prepare for doctor’s visit with a written list questions, which can help to decrease any stress you may be experiencing and allow you to feel more in control.
  • Record your questions and answers in a safe place – it’s a good idea to try to stay as organized as possible when you visit the doctor. Keep your questions and answers in a safe place, such as a notebook or a journal, anything that can easily fit into your backpack or purse. With all of the unknowns you may be feeling, staying organized is one way to make you feel more secure and in control of your cancer experience.
  • Bring a friend or family member with you to doctor’s appointments – it may be helpful to bring someone with whom you feel comfortable and can trust with sensitive, private information with you to the doctor. This person can serve as a source of support to you while you are visiting the doctor as well as help to keep track of your conversations with your doctor.
  • Use a recording device – Ask your doctor if you can record your conversation with either a cell phone or tape recorder. This is a good way of being able to store information, ensure that what you heard is actually what you heard, and to share the information, if desired, with friends or family.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to repeat an answer to a question or provide further explanation – it can be confusing to understand what doctor’s say and mean, especially when they use a lot of fancy medical terms. Don’t be afraid to ask the doctor to repeat an answer to a question or to explain an answer. Remember, NO QUESTION IS SILLY.

The most important thing to remember is that talking with your health care team is an important way to ensure that you are getting the care you need. 

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