Questions to ask your Medical Oncologist:
- What is the stage of my cancer?
- How does the stage of my cancer affect my treatment options?
- What treatment do you recommend and why?
- Will I need chemotherapy?
- What should I be doing differently while undergoing treatment?
- What is the goal of my treatment?
- Has the cancer spread beyond where it started?
- Will I benefit from testing of the tumor cells?
- Are there clinical trials that I may qualify for?
- What’s my plan for after chemotherapy, surgery, and/or treatment? Are there signs and symptoms I should be aware of?
- If cancer is only found in one of my breasts, should I consider prophylactic options? If yes, what are they?
- Should I see a doctor who specializes in treatment of ovarian cancer? Is so, who do you recommend?
Questions to ask your Breast Surgeon:
- How do I prepare for breast surgery?
- What happens before, during and after my surgery?
- When can I go back to work and resume normal activities?
- What is the difference between a mastectomy and lumpectomy? What are my options?
- Is breast reconstruction surgery an option if I want it?
- What does breast reconstruction surgery involve?
- Can breast reconstruction be done at the same time as the mastectomy?
- Will you be removing lymph nodes as part of my surgery? How many? What impact will that have?
- If I am high risk, is a mastectomy my only option for breast cancer prevention?
- Do I have to decide what type of surgery I am going to have right away?
Questions to ask your Gynecologic Oncologist:
- What treatment options do you normally recommend for people with my type and stage of cancer?
- What are the anticipated results of this treatment?
- Would you recommend additional tests and, if so, what additional information would the tests provide?
- How will this treatment and surgery affect my ability to have children?
- Are there clinical trials that I may qualify for?
- What is my plan for follow up after chemotherapy, surgery, and/or treatment? Are there signs and symptoms I should be aware of?
- What are the recommendations regarding salpingectomy vs. oophorectomy vs. hysterectomy?
- If I am high risk, when should I consider getting a prophylactic oophorectomy or hysterectomy?
Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon
Questions to ask your Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon:
- How do I know which type of reconstruction is best for me?
- What are the pros and cons of getting reconstructive plastic surgery at the same time as my breast surgery versus waiting?
- Will my reconstructed breast match my other breast?
- Will breast reconstruction surgery interfere with my chemotherapy or radiation therapy?
- What are my options for reconstruction if I am doing a prophylactic mastectomy?
Questions to ask your Radiation Oncologist:
- What do you expect to be the outcome of radiation therapy?
- How many treatments are involved in the process?
- How long does each session last?
- What side effects should I expect to experience?
- Will any other parts of my body also be affected by the radiation?
Questions to ask your Radiologist:
- What will my breast imaging show?
- How long will it take to receive my mammogram results?
- What happens next if the screening shows something that looks abnormal?
- Are there different options of types of mammograms or screenings that can be done?
- How often should I come in for a screening?
Questions to ask your Pathologist:
- What types of tests will be done on the specimen?
- How is the tissue for the test obtained?
- How long does it take to receive my pathology report?
- What information does the pathology report contain?
- If I am having prophylactic surgery, will I get a pathology report?
Primary Care Doctor
Questions to ask your Primary Care Doctor:
- Is there anything I should be doing differently while undergoing cancer treatment?
- Do I need to make any changes to my regular, not cancer related medications?
- Can you provide referrals for my cancer treatment team?
- If I know that I am at high risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer, at what point should I consider prophylactic surgery?
- If I am at high risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer, and do not want to do surgery, what are my options for monitoring my health?
- How may my cancer treatment affect my fertility?
- If I am doing prophylactic surgery, will this affect my fertility? How?
- Can I postpone my prophylactic surgery so that I can try to conceive?
- Can I preserve my fertility prior to treatment and/or prophylactic surgery? How?
- How long can embryos, eggs, and tissue be frozen for? Is this an option that I should consider?
- Can I postpone treatment to allow more time for ovulation stimulation?
- Should I consider taking drugs to suppress my ovarian function during treatment? What are the pros and cons?
- How long does it typically take for fertility to return after treatment?
- Is pregnancy safe for me after cancer and/or prophylactic surgery? If yes, how long should I wait?
- How long should I wait before not getting pregnant to see a fertility specialist?
- I am a carrier for a gene mutation that puts me at higher risk for developing breast and or ovarian cancer, is there a way to avoid passing this on to my future children?
Questions to ask your Oncology Nurse:
- What is your specific role in my treatment process?
- Who is my main point person throughout my cancer process?
- Can I ask you questions if my doctor is not available?
- What do I do if I do not feel comfortable with my doctor?
- My doctor hasn’t called me back with my results, what should I do?
- Will you be following my case or will there be different nurses each time I get treated?
- If I need treatment, will it be administered by you or by the doctor?
Oncology Social Worker
Questions to ask your Oncology Social Worker:
- How will you help me and my loved ones?
- How can you identify and connect me to the specific resources I need?
- At which point along my cancer journey will contacting you be helpful?
- Can you help me speak with my children about my cancer?
- How can you help me find financial assistance?
- I will need a home nursing aid; will you be able to help me find one?
Questions to ask your Genetic Counselor:
- What are the benefits of genetic counseling and testing?
- What specifically are genetic tests looking for?
- What happens if the test results prove that I am a carrier for a certain gene mutation?
- What information about my family history should I find out before my appointment?
- If I am a carrier of the BRCA mutation and at higher risk to develop breast and/or ovarian cancer, what are the chances that I will pass the gene mutation on to my child? Can it be avoided?
Questions to ask your Physical Therapist:
- Are there specific exercises I can do before surgery to help the outcome of my surgery?
- How soon after my surgery (ie: prophylactic, mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstruction) can I start physical therapy?
- Can you help me make a post-surgery exercise plan?
- Are there specific exercises that may help reduce the risk of lymphedema?
- Will physical therapy be painful? If so, what can I do for the pain?