Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
Most people with paraneoplastic syndrome experience neurological problems before there is a diagnosis of cancer or any indication of cancer. So, you're likely to start by seeing your primary care doctor about your symptoms. You may then be referred to a specialist in nervous system disorders (neurologist) or a cancer specialist (oncologist).
Questions from your doctor
Depending on the type and severity of symptoms, it may be important for a friend or family member to be at the appointment — to help answer questions and to provide moral support. Be prepared to answer the following questions:
- Have you experienced any muscle weakness or lack of coordination?
- Have you experienced any unusual or involuntary muscle movements?
- Have you had any unusual vision problems?
- Do you have any problems chewing, swallowing or speaking?
- Do you have any difficulty breathing?
- Have you had any seizures? How long have they lasted?
- Have you experienced dizziness or nausea?
- Do you have trouble sleeping, or have your sleep patterns changed?
- Are you having difficulty performing everyday tasks with your hands?
- Have you experienced any numbness or tingling in your limbs?
- Have you experienced a significant change in mood?
- Have you been seeing or hearing things that others are not aware of?
- Have you had any memory problems?
- When did the symptoms begin?
- Have the symptoms worsened since you first noticed them?
- Have you been diagnosed with cancer?
- What medications do you take, including over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements? What is the daily dosage of each?
- Have any close relatives had cancer? If so, what types of cancer?
- Have you ever smoked?
Questions for your doctor
Questions you may want to ask your doctor include:
- What diagnostic tests are you going to order?
- Which specialists will I need to see?
- What is the likely time frame for completing tests and getting results?
- How will you communicate results to me?
- What things are you looking for with the tests?
- What conditions are you trying to rule out?
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