Questions to Ask About Treatment for Breast Cancer

It helps to learn all you can about your disease and treatment choices so that you can take an active part in decisions about your medical care. Discuss these choices with your doctors, nurses, and loved ones. Your doctor is the best person to answer your questions about treatment. Make sure you ask how the treatment will change your daily life and how you will look and feel after treatment.

Before beginning treatment, you may want to ask your doctor if there are any clinical trials you should consider. New methods for treating cancer are tested in these trials.

At first, the information you receive about treatment options may seem overwhelming. Many people find it helpful to make a list of their questions before seeing their doctor. To make it easier to remember what the doctor says, you may want to take notes or ask if you can use a tape recorder. It may also help to have a family member or friend with you to take part in the discussion, take notes, or just listen.

Use the list of questions below as a starting place.

  • What treatment do you think is best for me?

  • What is the success rate of this particular treatment for my type and stage of breast cancer?

  • Will my treatment affect my ability to get pregnant or give birth?

  • Is breast-conserving surgery an option for me?

  • Will my lymph nodes be removed? How many? Why?

  • Will I need to know how to take care of my incision when I get home?

  • If I decide to have reconstructive surgery, how and when can that be done? Can you suggest a plastic surgeon for me to contact?

  • What side effects can I expect to have?

  • How long will the side effects last?

  • Are there side effects that I need to call you about?

  • What can I do to ease the side effects?

  • Can I take my other medicines during the treatment period?

  • What is the length of the treatment period?

  • How long will each treatment take?

  • Where do I have to go for the treatment?

  • Who is involved in giving me the treatment?

  • Does someone need to be with me during the treatment?

  • How will I feel after the treatment?

  • Where will the scars be? What will they look like?

  • Will I be able to go to work and be around my family?

  • Should I change my diet? What foods can’t I eat?

  • Are there any clinical trials I should look into?

  • Are there support groups nearby that I can join?

 

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