Oncology phone call

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My mums appointment to speak with the oncologist consulant has finally arrived, for two weeks times

It's via telephone - is this normal now? I will be with her and make sure her phone is on loud speaker anyway, she's not doing to great with phone calls right now as she's so emotional.

I always presumed oncology appointments would be face to face 

Also trying to think of questions to ask, our heads are all over tbh and i know everyones situation will be different but are there any questions i should be asking 

Thanks x

  • Hi  

    Things have changed since the pandemic and a lot of appointments are now over the phone, although I think we would all expect to be seen in person for an appointment like this. I remember when I was first diagnosed I always had my appointments in person.

    It’s good you will be there to listen as it sounds as if it might be difficult for your mum. It’s a good idea to write your questions down, and make a note of the answers and don’t be scared to ask him/her to repeat anything that you don’t understand or explain things in simple terms if they are using too much medical jargon. It can be difficult to take things in on the phone, and I do think it’s easier face to face.

    They should give you all the information you need, but I would ask what chemotherapy will be used, what are the likely side effects (will there be hair loss, nausea etc)  and how many cycles are there going to be-ie how many treatments and over what length of time. Ask when the next scan might be to assess how the treatment has gone. Your mum will need to sign a consent form before treatment so check when this will be done-is it just before the first treatment for example. 

    Blood tests are normally required before each treatment is carried out-check when and where they will be done. 

    These questions I’ve suggested might give you at least a starting point for things to ask, but I think it’s more difficult to know what to ask when this is all new to you. Personally I asked never to be given a prognosis, but this is a very personal thing for everyone, and I’m not sure they would give any idea unless you specifically asked that particular question. I would not have found it helpful myself, and I suspect given how emotional your mum is, it might not be wise to ask. 

    I hope that helps a little but if you need anything else, please just ask. I hope you’re looking after yourself, and take care.

    Sarah xx


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  • That helps massively 

    Thank you so much for your reply

    And yes I don't think she would want to find out nor would I to be honest xx

  • In my opinion there is no point point in asking. You should just try get through every day as best you can. I’ve never asked and  never would. I just want to keep going. Try to do that. 

    Sarah xx


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    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm