Be prepared to get the most out of your consultation

Published on

Topics include: Treatment | General

Being diagnosed with acute leukaemia can be an overwhelming experience and it's often hard to take in all the information given to you and process it. At the 58th American Society of Hematology (ASH) Annual Meeting & Exposition, Dr Susan O’Brien, Professor in the Department of Leukemia at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer, advises patients on how to ensure they make the best of their consultation. For example, writing down questions they would like to ask their clinician before the consultation in order to make the most of time.

This programme has been supported by Pfizer, through an unrestricted educational grant to the Patient Empowerment Foundation

View more programs featuring


Something we always tell patients is, write your questions down. Because you get in there and you’re anxious; of course, you’ve just got diagnosed with leukaemia. Anybody who’s anxious finds it hard to pay attention, even if it’s something really important to them. It’s great if you can bring somebody with you who can be supportive and objective, person who can be a little less stressed. Probably if they’re somebody who cares about the patient, they are stressed, but they’re not as stressed as the patient.


And write them down. Because what will happen is you get into the office, and, hopefully, if it’s a good doctor, they’ll, kind of, take you through it and give you an overview how things are going to be, but there’s always some questions that you’re going to ask. And you’ll get into the office as the patient and you’ll be, like, oh, I forgot what I was going to ask. So it’s really important to write down the questions that you have before you go in.

If you’re going for a second opinion, a good thing to do is have your… The doctor who is seeing you at home, tell you what they think should be done. Because you might find out when you go for a second opinion that that’s exactly what that centre thinks. And although I make a point that sometimes experience is better, sometimes people don’t have the wherewithal to, say, uproot themselves and move to another city where the… Where… Or, you know, 200 miles away in order to get the treatment. So at least if you know what your physician is planning to do and you go in and you find out that that... At that expert centre, they think that’s a good plan, you’ll come away with a lot more confidence.

Join Our Community Register for Events Read Our Latest Blog

Page last updated on April 15, 2016