Questions to Ask Your Oncologist and Surgeon About Breast Cancer
Posted: Sep 24, 2014
Undergoing surgery to treat breast cancer can be a very frightening experience. The better armed you are with the facts about your disease, how far it has progressed, and what to expect during recovery, the easier it will be for you to do your part to get better. Before you undergo surgery, be sure to sit down with your doctor and get the facts, ask about options, and understand why the recommendations in your case are being made.
If surgery is indicated for breast cancer, you may want to ask which surgery is better. There are two main types:
- Breast sparing – This involves the removal of the lump itself and some lymph nodes, as well. This is generally called a lumpectomy or a partial mastectomy. The end result is a nearly intact breast, but it is not always indicated as a course of treatment.
- Mastectomy – This is the complete removal of all or as much of the breast tissue as possible. It also involves the removal of some lymph nodes. Studies have found that the survival rates for breast sparing (with radiation) and full mastectomies tend to be the same for Stage I and Stage II cancers.
Questions to Ask
Before you and your doctor decide on a course of treatment, be sure to ask any questions that are on your mind. Some of the top questions to ask include:
- Which type of surgery is best for me? Why?
- How many lymph nodes will need to be removed and why?
- How long can I anticipate staying in the hospital after surgery?
- Where will the scars be located?
- Can I care for myself after I get home or will I need assistance?
- Will I need help regaining arm strength and motion following the surgery?
- What is the full course of treatment I can expect? Will chemo or radiation be needed after surgery? What about breast reconstruction?
Your surgeon should be perfectly willing to answer all your questions and go over all treatment options with you. If you are concerned about remembering what questions to ask, take the time to jot them down before your next appointment and bring the list with you. The more you understand about what is going to happen and why it is recommended, the better you can position yourself for the road to recovery ahead.
At Texas Breast Care, we feel that it is important that patients be proactive with their healthcare. We strive to help patients make an informed decision on the best breast care treatment available by providing breast cancer information, breast exams, and discussing symptoms of breast cancer for their personal diagnosis and circumstances.
The Prostate Seed Institute is a non-surgical prostate cancer care center. The founder of the Prostate Seed Institute, Dr. Gregory Echt, is a radiation oncologist who specializes in using radiation to treat cancer.