Breast Cancer: Questions to Ask Your Breast Cancer Doctors

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on February 22, 2024
2 min read

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

  1. What kind of breast cancer do I have? What stage is it? What does that mean?
  2. Where exactly do I have cancer? Is it in my lymph nodes?
  3. What treatment options do you recommend for me, and why?
  4. How should I get ready for treatment?
  5. Can diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices help my recovery?
  6. After I'm treated, what’s my risk of getting other cancers? Are my family members at risk?
  7. Will breast cancer treatment affect my ability to have children?
  8. What are my options for breast reconstruction?
  9. Are there clinical trials that might be well-matched for me?
  10. Are there breast cancer support groups in my area?
  1. Why are you recommending this therapy?
  2. What are the risks and side effects?
  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. Will my hair fall out? Will it grow back?
  8. Will I have premature menopause and infertility? If so, should I consider harvesting and storing my eggs?
  9. Is there anything I should avoid during treatment?
  10. Should I change my diet or lifestyle?


  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 get ready 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 give you:

  • 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 right away if you see signs of swelling, a buildup of fluid, redness, or other symptoms of infection.

  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?