Skip to content

    Breast Cancer Health Center

    Select An Article

    Breast Cancer: Questions to Ask Your Breast Cancer Doctors

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Fully informed patients are often happier with their treatment. To help you get the answers you need, print out these questions to ask your medical oncologist, your surgeon and your radiation oncologist.

    10 Questions to Ask the Medical Oncologist

    1. Why are you recommending this therapy?
    2. What are the risks?
    3. Are there other ways to treat the cancer?
    4. Where do I go for chemotherapy or hormone therapy?
    5. Will I be able to drive myself home after treatment, or do I need help?
    6. How long does the treatment last?
    7. What are the risks and side effects of treatment?
    8. Will my hair fall out? Will it grow back?
    9. Will I have premature menopause and infertility?
    10. Is there anything I should avoid during treatment?
    11. Should I change my diet or lifestyle?

    10 Questions to Ask the Cancer Surgeon

    1. Why are you recommending this procedure? Are there other options?
    2. What are the risks? How do they compare with the benefits?
    3. How do I prepare for surgery?
    4. What type of anesthesia will I have?
    5. What happens during and right after surgery?
    6. Who do I talk to about breast reconstruction?
    7. How long will I be in the hospital?
    8. What are the potential complications of surgery?
    9. When can I go back to work and resume normal activities?
    10. What is lymphedema and am I at risk?

    Before surgery, your surgeon should provide:

    • Specific instructions to follow in the days before surgery
    • An overview of the surgical procedures
    • Information about recovery and follow-up care

    After surgery, call your doctor immediately if you see signs of swelling, a build-up of fluid, redness or other symptoms of infection. Also watch for complications such as lymphedema that may include swelling in your arm or hand.

    10 Questions to Ask the Radiation Oncologist

    1. What is the goal of radiation therapy?
    2. Does radiation affect fertility?
    3. What are the risks and side effects of radiation therapy?
    4. Where do I go for radiation therapy?
    5. How long does each session last?
    6. How many weeks does treatment last?
    7. Does radiation therapy make me radioactive?
    8. What should I avoid during treatment?
    9. Should I change my diet or lifestyle?
    10. Does radiation therapy affect having breast reconstruction?

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on August 18, 2014
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Breast Cancer Overview
    From mammograms to living after treatment.
    Dealing with breast cancer
    Get answers to your questions.
     
    woman having mammogram
    The 3 latest tips to know.
    woman undergoing breast cancer test
    Most abnormalities aren’t breast cancer.
     
    Resolved To Quit Smoking
    VIDEO
    Breast Cancer Treatments Improving
    Article
     
    Woman getting mammogram
    Article
    Screening Tests for Women
    Article
     
    serious woman
    Article
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    QUIZ
     
    what is your cancer risk
    Article
    breast cancer survivors
    Article