Your doctor will explain the treatment options best for you. You should ask your doctor questions so you understand your doctor's recommendations and your treatment plan. It is also very important to let your doctor know your concerns and what you want from your treatment.
For many diseases, the initial treatment is not a transplant. However, in some cases, certain features of a disease may show that transplant is an important option down the road to best treat the disease. In other cases, only if the disease returns after initial treatment does transplant become a treatment option.
If transplant becomes a possibility, it is best to understand all your treatment options and plan ahead. It takes time to arrange a transplant, so it’s a good idea for your doctor to start the process early. If transplant is being considered as a treatment option, ask for a referral to a transplant doctor for consultation.
Your transplant appointment
Before your first transplant evaluation, gather as much information as you are comfortable with. But remember that every person is different. Discussing where the information came from and asking the doctor's view of it helps provide context.
If you have a lot to talk about, it’s best to make a list of questions and prioritize which questions are most important to discuss at the initial meeting. You may need to meet with your doctor again to discuss all of your questions. You may also want to bring along a family member or friend to take notes and help you remember what was said.
Some questions to ask your doctor include:
- How do you use outcomes data to make a decision about whether I should get a transplant? What numbers do you look at to make the decision?
- Do I have health risk factors that might impact my outcome?
- How will my age or health condition influence my risk?
- How does my situation compare to other patients?
- What are my chances of living disease-free if I get a transplant? If I don’t? Or if I wait?
- What can you tell me about my quality of life if I get a transplant? If I don’t?
- How might my quality of life change over time?
Asking for another opinion
It’s not unusual for patients to ask for a second—or even third—medical opinion. It is best that you and your doctor have a good relationship and that you feel comfortable that the doctor you choose is the best person to treat your disease. You have the right to get the opinions of other doctors. You also have the right to refuse any treatment. If you refuse a suggested treatment be sure you understand what the risks are if you delay or decline. Contact your insurance company to see if second opinions are covered or, if you decide you want to change doctors, to let them know you want to change doctors or hospitals.
Be The Match® has many free resources to help you learn about your disease and treatment options.
- Learn about your disease: Access information about your specific disease.
- Resource library: Browse or request copies of our free patient-friendly educational resources to access stage-specific and age-specific information about transplant.
- Peer Connect Program: Connect with others who have gone through transplant and are happy to share their experiences.
- Transplant questions to ask: Print a list of suggested questions you can ask your doctor about the transplant process.
Be The Match patient services coordinators can answer your questions and provide support and education to help you navigate your transplant journey.