The following is a list of questions for discussion with your doctor about breast cancer from Second Opinion. However, it is not a comprehensive list.
General questions about breast health and breast cancer detection:
- Can you or someone in your office work with me to make sure I'm doing my breast self exams correctly?
- Are there changes in my breasts I should expect when I'm close to my menstrual period?
- What does it mean if I have breast pain?
- What does it mean if I have nipple discharge or inflammation?
- If I feel something during my self-exam, have breast pain or nipple discharge/inflammation, should I see you immediately or should I wait for a time to see if it resolves? If so, how long?
- Are any medications I am taking likely to cause breast problems?
- What are the pros and cons of having a mammogram at my age?
- What is your recommendation on mammograms?
If you believe you're at high risk to get breast cancer:
- Is there anything in my background that indicates
◦ I should have mammograms more often than your usual recommendations?
◦ I should see a specialist?
- Where should I have my mammogram?
- What do you recommend to women to prevent breast cancer?
If you have found a lump in your breast:
- What tests should I have?
- How likely is it that the lump is cancerous
If a biopsy is recommended:
- What type of biopsy are you recommending and why?
- What is involved in the type of biopsy you are recommending?
If you have a cancer diagnosis:
- What is the stage of my cancer?
- Has my cancer spread to lymph nodes or internal organs?
- What are the results of my estrogen and progesterone tests?
- What were the results of other tests (flow cytometry and other markers for tumor aggressiveness)?
- What treatments are appropriate for me? What do you recommend? Why?
- How often will I receive treatment?
- How long will the treatment last?
- How well has this option worked for others?
- What are the potential benefits of this treatment?
- What are the risks or side effects that I should expect?
- If I experience side effects, how long will they last and how can they be managed?
- Are the possible side effects of this treatment serious enough to interfere with continuing therapy?
- How effective will breast reconstruction surgery be in my case if I need it or want it?
- What should I do to get ready for treatment?
- Should I follow a special diet?
- Will I be able to have children after my treatment?
- Will I go through menopause as a result of the treatment?
- What are the chances of recurrence of my cancer with the treatment programs we have outlined?
- What is my prognosis?
This article reprinted with permission from Second Opinion, a public television health program hosted by Dr. Peter Salgo and produced by WXXI (Rochester, NY), West 175 and the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Copyright Second Opinion, 2012. All rights reserved