Questions to Ask Before Starting Immunotherapy

Questions to Ask Before Starting Immunotherapy

Reviewed by Jasper Clinical Board

Last updated 5/24/21

If your doctor has recommended immunotherapy as part of your treatment plan, you’ll likely have questions about what’s ahead. From clarifying terminology to going through the timeline of upcoming events, this is an important part of the process, helping you and your caregivers to work as a team to further your health. To get you started, here are some questions you might ask. Know that it’s perfectly okay (and often encouraged) to bring a pen and paper to take notes, to record the conversation, or to bring a companion into the meeting to help you listen, take notes, and gather more information. In addition, always feel free to ask for clarification on (and how to spell) terms you don’t understand.
  1. Can you explain, in terms I can understand, how this treatment works to treat the cancer that I have? 
  2. How many of your own patients have received this treatment? [If the doctor does not have a lot of experience with this treatment, ask: Who do you turn to when you have questions about how to manage the care of someone on this treatment?]
  3. How is this therapy administered (by IV, port, oral medication, injection)?
  4. What are the primary side effects I should be aware of with this treatment? Are these reversible (temporary) or permanent side effects?
  5. Is there risk of anaphylactic reaction with this treatment, and what are the symptoms of that? What will be done to try to prevent this type of reaction? 
  6. What are the alternatives to this treatment if I have a reaction and cannot tolerate it?
  7. Can you spell the names of the therapy you are suggesting I get as well as any other medications I may be taking during the course of treatment?
  8. Can you recommend a good place to read more about this treatment?
  9. Where can I get mental health care while going through this treatment?
  10. What kind of physical activity is safe for me to engage in while undergoing this treatment? 
  11. If I want to learn more about the ideal diet to eat during this time, how do I get an appointment to meet with a registered dietitian?
  12. Are there clinical trials involving promising immunotherapy treatments that you would recommend I consider participating in?

The content on this website is intended to provide the best possible information for you, but should not be considered—or used as a substitute for—medical advice. If you have questions about your diagnosis or treatment, please contact your health care provider(s). For questions or comments about this content, please email us at