Oncologist-approved cancer information from the American Society of Clinical Oncology
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Breast Cancer - Metaplastic

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 8/2010
Questions to Ask the Doctor

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.

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