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Breast Cancer Health Center

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Breast Cancer: Questions to Ask Your Breast Cancer Doctors

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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
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