ON THIS PAGE: You will find some questions to ask your doctor or other members of your health care team, to help you better understand your diagnosis, treatment plan, and overall care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.
Regular communication with your doctor is important in making informed decisions about your health care. Consider asking the following questions of your doctor(s):
- What type of breast cancer do I have?
- Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
- What is the size of my tumor?
- What is a sentinel lymph node biopsy? What are the benefits and risks? Would you recommend it for me?
- What is the risk of lymphedema with a sentinel lymph node biopsy? With axillary lymph node dissection?
- How many lymph nodes contain cancer?
- What stage is my breast cancer? What does that mean?
- What are my options for treatment?
- Do I need additional surgery?
- Should I consider chemotherapy before surgery?
- Where clinical trials are open to me?
- Who will be part of my health care team, and what does each member do?
- Who will be coordinating my overall treatment and follow-up care?
- What are the possible side effects of this treatment, both in the short term and the long term?
- How will this treatment affect my daily life? Will I be able to work, exercise, and perform my usual activities?
- If I'm worried about managing the costs related to my cancer care, who can help me with these concerns?
- Could this treatment affect my fertility (ability to have children in the future)? If so, are there other treatments available that do not pose as high a risk to my fertility but are equally effective?
- What are the expected timelines for my treatment plan?
- Now that you have examined me, am I a good candidate for reconstruction?
- What types of breast reconstruction options do I have?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each type?
- How will you determine if the cancer comes back?
- How often will I receive radiation therapy?
- How much time will each treatment take?
- Will each treatment be the same? Does the radiation dose or area treated change throughout the period of treatment?
- Will you describe what I will experience when I receive radiation therapy?
- Whom do I call for questions or problems?
- What follow-up tests will I need, and how often will I need them?
- What support services are available to me? To my family?
For additional questions, see the Guide to Breast Cancer section.
The next section offers some more resources that may be helpful to you. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Additional Resources, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.