Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Make an appointment with your primary care doctor or family doctor if you have signs and symptoms that concern you. If your doctor suspects a carcinoid tumor, you may be referred to a:
- Doctor who specializes in digestive problems (gastroenterologist)
- Doctor who specializes in lung problems (pulmonologist)
- Doctor who treats cancer (oncologist)
Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. Here's some information to help you get ready, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
- Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
- Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
- Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
- Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.
- Write down questions to ask your doctor.
Your time with your doctor is limited, so preparing a list of questions can help you make the most of your time together. List your questions from most important to least important, in case time runs out. Some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is likely causing my symptoms?
- Are there any other possible causes for my symptoms?
- What kinds of tests do I need? Do these tests require any special preparation?
- What treatments are available and which do you recommend?
- What are the risks and side effects I can expect for each treatment?
- What's my prognosis if I undergo treatment?
- Will the treatment affect my ability to work or do normal daily activities?
- I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage these conditions together?
- Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?
- How often do I need follow-up visits?
What to expect from your doctor
Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time to cover points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:
- When did you first begin experiencing symptoms?
- Have your symptoms been continuous, or occasional?
- How severe are your symptoms?
- What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
- What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
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- Neuroendocrine tumors. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Oct. 23, 2012.
- Feldman M, et al. Sleisenger & Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology, Diagnosis, Management. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?eid=4-u1.0-B978-1-4160-6189-2..X0001-7--TOP&isbn=978-1-4160-6189-2&about=true&uniqId=229935664-2192. Accessed Oct. 23, 2012.
- Goldman L, et al. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/191371208-2/0/1492/0.html#. Accessed Oct. 23, 2012.
- Gastrointestinal carcinoid tumors treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/gastrointestinalcarcinoid/Patient. Accessed Oct. 24, 2012.