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Breast cancer: Questions to ask your doctor

A woman holds her hand to her chest as she talks to her doctor

Your doctor can help you understand the details of the disease and the benefits and risks of each treatment option.

Today, women diagnosed with breast cancer have more and better treatment options than ever before. That can mean a better chance of surviving with less invasive treatments.

It also means that it's even more important to learn all you can about the disease and the treatment options.

When you're figuring out what to ask your doctor, consider these questions suggested by the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute:

  • What type of breast cancer do I have?
  • Could you explain the pathology report?
  • Should my biopsy slides be examined a second time?
  • What other tests do I need?
  • Has the cancer spread to lymph nodes or internal organs?
  • What treatments are available?
  • Which treatment do you recommend? Why?
  • Does the treatment have risks or short- or long-term side effects?
  • How should I prepare for treatment?
  • Will I be able to have children after treatment?
  • How likely is the cancer to come back after treatment?
  • Will the treatment cause menopause?
  • Will I have normal sensation in my breasts after treatment?
  • If I want reconstructive surgery for my breast, how effective will it be?
  • What are my chances of survival?
  • How can I get another opinion?
  • Do I qualify for any clinical trials?

It may help to take notes during the doctor visit, record the visit or bring someone else with you.

If you think you may want a second opinion, it's a good idea to get copies of the radiology report, pathology report and your medical records.

Reviewed 3/14/2023

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