Preparing for your appointment

You're likely to start by seeing your primary care physician. If you're diagnosed with polycythemia vera, you might be referred to a doctor who specializes in blood conditions (hematologist).

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.

What you can do

Make a list of:

  • Your symptoms, including any that seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment, and when they began
  • Key personal information, including other medical conditions and family medical history
  • All medications, vitamins or supplements you take, including doses
  • Questions to ask your doctor

Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.

For polycythemia vera, questions to ask your doctor include:

  • What's the most likely cause of my symptoms?
  • What tests do I need?
  • Is this condition temporary, or will I always have it?
  • What treatments are available, and which do you recommend?
  • I have these other health conditions. How can I best manage them together?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Will I need follow-up visits? If so, how often?
  • Are there brochures or other printed material I can have? What websites do you recommend?

Don't hesitate to ask other questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you questions, including:

  • Have your symptoms been continuous or occasional?
  • How severe are your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, seems to improve your symptoms?
  • What, if anything, appears to worsen your symptoms?
Feb. 08, 2017
References
  1. Tefferi A. Diagnostic approach to the patient with polycythemia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 16, 2016.
  2. Polycythemia vera. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/poly/. Accessed Nov. 16, 2016.
  3. Tefferi A. Prognosis and treatment of polycythemia vera. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Nov. 16, 2016.
  4. Polycythemia vera facts. Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. https://www.lls.org/llssearch?search-terms=polycythemia+vera&search_language=en. Accessed Nov. 16, 2016.
  5. Mesa RA, et al. Effect of ruxolitinib therapy on myelofibrosis-related symptoms and other patient-reported outcomes in COMFORT-I: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2013;31:1285.
  6. Brian JC, et al. Overcoming treatment challenges in myelofibrosis and polycythemia vera: The role of ruxolitinib. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology. 2016;77:1125.
  7. Geyer H, et al. Symptomatic profiles of patients with polycythemia vera: Implications of inadequately controlled disease. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2016;34:151.
  8. Polycythemia vera. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/hematology-and-oncology/myeloproliferative-disorders/polycythemia-vera. Accessed Nov. 16, 2016.