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Preparing for an upcoming appointment
Attending a medical appointment can be daunting for some people. It is a common theme that individuals feel that they are taking up too much of their medical provider’s time or that they are nervous around medical professionals in general.
Time and time again, individuals report not getting the answers they were looking for or forgetting to mention an issue that is bothering them due to the anxiety of attending medical appointments.
Here are some ways to prepare for a medical appointment and ensure that you are your own best advocate:
• Keep a journal of your symptoms, concerns, and questions and write them down as they arise. This gives you a written record of things to address at your appointment.
• If you have a person with whom you feel comfortable talking, discuss the content of what you have written down so that you can practice asking the questions and talking through your concerns.
• Before your appointment, review your journal/document and write down the most important questions and concerns on a separate piece of paper to give to your doctor when you arrive. If you are anxious about voicing your questions and concerns, it may be helpful to let the doctor know that you have written them down and would like to give them a copy so that you can go through the document together, question by question and concern by concern.
• Sometimes it can be difficult to translate your thoughts into written questions or concerns. If this is the case, you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can brainstorm together.
Part of being an advocate for yourself is obtaining answers to your questions and information about your diagnosis, treatment, and other aspects of cancer care. If you do not feel comfortable advocating for yourself, you can appoint a friend/family member if they agree. Otherwise, we at the CCC are always available to help you explore ways to improve your advocacy skills.