We highly recommend that you have a support person with you when you are discussing your diagnosis and treatment options with your medical team. A spouse, family member, or close friend whom you trust can provide valuable support and a second set of ears. A member of the Albie Aware care team is often available to attend appointments with you to take notes for you, offer additional questions to ask and advocate for your best treatment.
You have likely just experienced many diagnostic breast tests, ending with a breast biopsy that has come back positive for breast cancer. It can be a scary and confusing time. It’s important for you to have a support person with you and be ready with questions and a note pad as you have consultations with a breast surgeon, a surgical oncologist and a radiation oncologist.
Depending on where you are in your breast cancer journey the following questions are appropriate for you to ask your doctors and will help you understand your individual diagnosis, treatment options and help you prepare for your best care.
Questions to ask your doctor about your pathology report:
- What kind of breast cancer do I have?
- What is the stage of this type of breast cancer?
- What is the grade and what does that mean?
- May I have my breast biopsy reviewed by a pathologist at another diagnostic center?
- What other tests were done on my tissue?
- How do these results define my treatment options?
Questions to ask when deciding on a treatment plan.
- Do I need other tests, such as a chest x-ray or a PET scan, before we decide on a treatment plan?
- What are the treatment options for my stage and type of breast cancer?
- hormonal therapy
- biologically targeted therapy
- clinical trials
- What treatment(s) do you feel will work best for me and why?
- What are the side effects of your prescribed treatment plan and how can I manage them?
- How long will treatment last?
- Is there a special nutrition plan I should be incorporating into my diet that will assist in my recovery?
- When can I go back to work after surgery/Will I be able to work during my treatment?
- Can you suggest a mental health professional I can see if I start to feel overwhelmed, depressed or distressed?
- Will I need special tests to track my treatment, such as imaging scans or blood tests, and how often?
- Will the treatment affect my normal activities? My family?
- How will the treatments affect my appearance?
- What studies are currently under way for my type of cancer?
- Should I think about genetic testing?
- Do you recommend participation in a clinical trial? If so, where do I go?
- What if I would like a second opinion?
- Where can I find additional support?
Questions to ask after treatment:
- How should I change my diet after treatment?
- Are there any limitations on what I can do?
- Am I at risk for lymphedema?
- What can I do to reduce my risk for lymphedema?
- Can you recommend a lymphedema therapist?
- What kind of exercise should I do now?
- How will I be monitored after treatment?
- When will I have follow up exams, blood tests and imaging tests?
- How can I reduce the chances of my cancer coming back?