Q. My mother is undergoing chemotherapy treatments and her appetite is poor. She has a doctor's appointment next week. I plan to go with her but don't know what to say to her doctor.

A.

It is wonderful that you are helping care for your mother and your important role is known as a “caregiver.” Going with your mother to her appointment can be very helpful since good communication with her doctor will improve the quality of care she receives. Your mother may feel overwhelmed and needs your help to sort through the doctor’s instructions on managing her poor appetite.

Before this visit with the doctor, write down any questions the two of you would like to ask. Make your questions as specific as possible and ask your most important questions first. Bring a notebook or tape recorder so you can keep track of the doctor’s answers and refer to them later.

Questions to ask her doctor:

  • What could be causing my mother’s poor appetite?
  • Are there any ways to improve my mother’s appetite?
  • Can you arrange for her to meet with a dietitian to help us plan her meals and snacks?
  • Is there any medication that would help to improve her appetite?

You may also want to learn about organizations that help with care at home. Ask your mother’s doctor or hospital social worker about local home health agencies.

CancerCare publications that can help include:

The National Cancer Institute offers: