Communication with Your Healthcare Team

You may feel scared or upset because you have lymphoma.This can be very common. However, you should know that there is a team of health care providers who can help you. This fact sheet is about the people on your healthcare team and how you can work with them. It also has some sample questions plus ways to learn more.

People on Your Healthcare Team

Your health care team may include many different people who can help with your lymphoma care.This team works together, although you might not meet all of them. Here are some of the people who may be on your health care team:

  • Doctors: You are likely to meet many doctors. Some of them you may only meet one time. Other doctors will work with you throughout your treatment and care.These doctors can include:
  • Hematologist:Treats people with cancers of the blood (lymphoma, leukemia, and myeloma).
  • Oncologist:Treats people with all types of cancer.
  • Pain and Palliative Care Specialist:Helps reduce or ease pain or other symptoms through medication and other ways.
  • Radiation Oncologist:Uses radiation to treat and manage cancer.
  • Radiologist:Looks at x-rays and other types of high­energy scans.
  • Financial Counselor: Can answer questions about hospital bills and other costs.
  • Nurse: Works with all the health care providers on your health care team. Nurses provide cancer treatment and can teach patients and their families ways to manage pain and treatment side effects.
  • Nutritionist: Teaches about which foods and drinks to have during lymphoma treatment.
  • Pharmacist: Prepares and gives out prescription medications.
  • Radiation Technician: Operates (uses) radiation therapy equipment.
  • Social Worker: A licensed professional who provides emotional support. Social workers can also provide referrals to support groups, and assist with transportation issues and financial matters.
  • Psychologist or Psychiatrist: Mental health workers who can provide counseling, treat anxiety or depression, and help you with coping with your illness.

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Working with Your Healthcare Team

There are many ways you can work together with your health care team. Here is what you can do:

  • Build a Relationship: You should try to be open and honest with your health care team regarding your diagnosis.You can also discuss your treatment plan, as well as the possible side effects.
  • Staying in Touch: You are welcome to make additional appointments or contact your health care team if you have additional questions.
  • Bring Someone with You:You should ask a family member or close friend to go with you to appointments.This person can help ask questions, take notes, and remember what was said.
  • Keep a Notebook: You should write down your questions in a notebook or diary.Then, you should bring the notebook or diary with you to your appointments. This is a good way to remember all of your questions.
  • Ask Questions:You should ask questions until you feel like you know everything you want to you know about your diagnosis and treatment.You can ask any of the people in your health care team.You should make sure understand the answers. If you don’t understand the answers, you should ask the doctor to explain it in another way.

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Questions to Ask Your Healthcare Team

About Lymphoma, in general…

  • What type of lymphoma do I have?
  • What stage is my lymphoma?
  • What tests do I need?

About Lymphoma treatment…

  • What are my treatment choices?
  • How can this treatment help me?
  • How is this treatment given?
  • How long will the treatment last?
  • What are the side effects of this treatment?

About pain and side effects…

  • Which side effects am I likely to get?
  • How can you or I manage these side effects?
  • When do I need to call you about my symptoms or side effects?

About getting the help you need…

  • How do I contact my doctor, nurse, or social worker?
  • Why is it important to bring someone with me to an appointment?
  • How can the financial counselor help me?
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