Questions to Ask Your Doctor After Receiving a Terminal Diagnosis 

Questions to Ask Your Doctor After Receiving a Terminal Diagnosis 


If you receive a terminal diagnosis, it can be difficult to know what questions to ask. You may be overwhelmed with a range of feelings and concerns, and not sure where to begin. Print out or save the questions below to help create an open, honest conversation with your physician. Remember, your appointment time is time for you, and asking questions will help you gather information as you make decisions. We recommend bringing someone with you to your appointment to take notes and offer support.

Questions About Your Diagnosis

  1. What is my prognosis? 
  2. How likely am I to be cured? 
  3. Based on your experience, how much longer do you think I will live?


Questions About Treatment

  1. What types of side effects are common and how severe are they?
  2. How likely is this treatment to prolong my life, and by how much?
  3. How will this treatment impact my quality of life?
  4. What are the best and worst outcomes you have seen from this treatment?
  5. What are the potential risks?


Questions About Surgery

  1. What can I expect recovery to be like?
  2. How long does it usually take to recover?
  3. What are the best and worst outcomes you have seen from this treatment?
  4. What are the potential risks? 

Questions About Choosing No Treatment

  1. If I decide not to undergo treatment/surgery, how much longer may I live?
  2. What types of symptoms could I experience as my disease progresses?

Questions About Comfort & Care

  1. What can you offer if I am in pain or have other discomfort?
  2. Can you refer me to a palliative care physician to help manage my symptoms?
  3. What other services or specialists do you recommend?
  4. Who is the best person to contact in your office when I have questions? What is their availability? 
  5. The things that are most important to me are ___________. (Fill in with your personal answers. Examples include sharing meals with my family, attending an important event, continuing a hobby, etc.) How can you help me prioritize what’s most important to me in the time I have left? 

Looking to plan a Celebration of Life?

X