Screening - Diagnosis - Treatment Options - Lifestyle Changes


A bowel cancer diagnosis, or being told by your doctor that you may have bowel cancer, can come as quite a shock.

It is a time when you need to ask lots of important questions of your doctor and/or specialist.  You will have many thoughts running through your head and may find it difficult to think clearly.

Below is a list of helpful questions you may like to ask your doctor and/or treating specialist.

Bowel Cancer Austraila's What I Need to Ask questions are categorised according to the different circumstances in which you may find yourself, as well as the type of treatment sought.

Regular communication with your specialist is vital in helping you make informed decisions about your health care.

Whether you are dealing with a suspicion, diagnosis, or coping with the side effects of treatment, it is important to know what questions to ask your specialist so as to best equip yourself in the prevention, management and treatment of the disease.

The more information you have about bowel cancer, the easier it will be to make informed decisions.

Determining which type of treatment is right for your bowel cancer is important.  Asking your specialist about surgical procedures, associated treatment side effects and potential risks are critical to making informed decisions about the disease.

Exploring the emotional and physical side effects of bowel cancer therapies will give you some insight into potential problems before they occur.  Although managing and living with these side effects may indeed be difficult, at least you will be aware and informed should they occur.

Your specialist and the rest of your multidisciplinary team are there to help you and support you through what can be a difficult time.  Patients who have cancer want to build good relationships with their treating specialists.  A good relationship however, doesn’t just happen – it takes care and effort on both sides.

Ensure that all your concerns and questions, no matter how small, have been addressed.  It may require more than one visit to discuss all of your concerns and new questions may arise at a later time.  It may be difficult to remember everything your specialist says to you.  This is why most patients find it helpful to do any or all of the following. 



  • Bring a family member or friend with you to the appointments.  It helps to have another person hear what is said and to think of additional questions to ask.
  • You or your attendee may take notes during the appointment.
  • Write out your questions or concerns before the appointment so that you will not forget what to ask of the specialist.
  • Download Bowel Cancer Australia's bowel cancer app which contains a list of these questions and a function that allows you to take notes during the appointment.
  • Either you or your attendee may wish to write down the answers you receive from the specialist and ensure you understand what you are hearing.  Ask for clarification if necessary.
  • Do not be afraid to ask your questions or ask where you can find more information about what you are discussing.  You are most certainly entitled to know.  

Download Bowel Cancer Australia's list of What I Need to Ask questions.  
What I Need to Ask questions are also available on Bowel Cancer Australia's 
Bowel Cancer App.





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