1. Always obtain and keep copies of your medical records.

  2. Take things a step at a time and do your research. This is your life and your health, so you want to make the best decisions for yourself. Talk to your doctor about what you have researched, and don’t be afraid to do more research on treatments your doctor discusses with you.

  3. Ask your doctor for the time to discuss any questions and concerns you have. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You should never leave the doctor’s office feeling confused. Sometimes it’s helpful to prepare your questions and write them down before the visit. It can also be helpful to bring someone with you who can take notes while you are talking with your doctor. If nobody is able to go with you, write down answers and information your doctor gives you, as information overload can make it difficult to process things verbally in the moment.

  4. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor to back up his recommendations. You should always speak to your doctor respectfully, but there is nothing wrong with asking him or her to show studies with current cure rates and complication incidences. You need to know all of the information regarding any treatment you choose, including how successful the treatment is and potential risks and side effects.

  5. Keep a journal of the way you feel and anything relevant to your condition and treatment. This includes side effects, energy levels, any positive changes you notice, any change in sleep patterns, emotional changes, etc. If you’re not sure if something is relevant, write it down!

  6. Be honest with your doctor. Your medical professionals can only help if you are being completely honest. For example, the amount of prostate cancer patients who suffer from erectile dysfunction and incontinence is estimated to be much higher than the actual percentage reported. The reason is, many men are embarrassed to talk about these issues. However, if a man isn’t honest with his doctor about these side effects, he will never have the chance to learn about all of the options available to help him with both issues. Communicating honestly helps your doctor to monitor your health and provide better treatment options. Some things may be difficult to discuss, but your doctor is here to help you.