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Managing Treatment > Working with Your Healthcare Team

Working with Your Healthcare Team


Your healthcare team is your best resource throughout your treatment.

Talk openly and often with them about your doubts, questions, or concerns. That can help you feel more in control and get the information you need to best manage your treatment.1

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your doctor visits.

Before your visit

  • Make a list of questions before each appointment.1  Prepare your questions, starting with the most important ones.
  • Ask a family member or friend to go with you.1  They can help remind you of questions to ask and take notes for you. They can also join you via video or telephone call.
  • Keep a record of your symptoms or side effects.1  Make a note of what and when you have them, and if anything makes them better or worse. Bring this with you to your appointment.
  • Keep a file of any paperwork your doctor has given you.1  This file can include test results and imaging reports. List the medicines you have taken and tests you have received. Bring this with you to your appointment.

During your visit

  • Let your doctor know the things you would like to talk about at the beginning of your appointment.
  • Ask to record the visit or include a family member or friend by video call. If someone is not able to be there, recording the conversation may help you remember what was said and what you need to do.
  • Ask questions from your list and raise any concerns that you have.1
  • Ask for clarification.1  Let your doctor know if anything they say is not clear. Ask your doctor to repeat their recommendations if necessary; you may want to suggest that your doctor use different words or an example to clarify what they are saying.
  • Take notes.1  Or, ask a family member or friend to take notes for you. You may also want to ask your doctor if it’s OK to record your conversation using your phone or other device.
  • Ask your health care team where you can find additional information or printed materials about your conditions.2   Many offices have this information readily available.
  • Find out who to call if you have follow-up questions.1  Ask for their phone number and email.
  • Find out what to do in an emergency.1  Find out where to go, who to contact, and how to reach members of your health care team.

After your visit

  • Follow up on any instructions from your doctor, like making a follow-up appointment or filling a prescription.
  • Share your notes (or recording) and talk about your experiences from the visit with family members or friends who support you, whether they attended with you in person or virtually.4,5

Talking with your doctor about your goals

You may have thought about personal goals or career goals throughout your life, but what about your goals while on treatment? While the goal of treatment for metastatic breast cancer (MBC) may be to help people live longer, you may be thinking about your quality of life, too.

What is most important to you at this time in your life? Remember, goals are meant to help you achieve what matters to you. That means there is no such thing as a wrong answer.

For example, perhaps you want to:

  • Enjoy time with family and friends
  • Attend a special event, like a wedding or graduation
  • Maintain parts of your normal routine, like meeting a friend for lunch each week
  • Be your best self

To set goals while on treatment, it may be helpful to:

  1. Think about what matters most to you right now
  2. Write your thoughts down
    • You may even start by writing, “It is important to me that I________”
    • Fill in the blank with your answers
  3. Share your ideas with someone you trust to help you talk through your thoughts
  4. Discuss your treatment goals with your doctor at an upcoming visit

Setting goals while on treatment may help you to plan for what matters most to you. It may also help you to make the most of your conversations with your doctor. By communicating these goals, together you can create a treatment plan that works best for you.

Download this PDF for a list of questions to ask your doctor at your next appointment.


  1. American Cancer Society. The doctor-patient relationship. team/the-doctor-patient-relationship.html. Accessed October 15, 2019.
  2. UCSF Health. Using a medical calendar and symptom log. Accessed December 11, 2019.
  3. National Cancer Institute. Talking with your health care team. Coping Accessed December 9, 2019.
  4. Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. After your appointment. Accessed November 3, 2019.
  5. Forgetting to take medication. Accessed November 3, 2019.