Who’s Who On Your Treatment Team


Hover over the images to see a description. Click on the images or scroll down to see what types of questions you can ask.


 

Medical Oncologist

Questions to ask your Medical Oncologist:

  1. What is the stage of my cancer?
  2. How does the stage of my cancer affect my treatment options?
  3. What treatment do you recommend and why?
  4. Will I need chemotherapy?
  5. What should I be doing differently while undergoing treatment?
  6. What is the goal of my treatment?
  7. Has the cancer spread beyond where it started?
  8. Will I benefit from testing of the tumor cells?
  9. Are there clinical trials that I may qualify for?
  10. What’s my plan for after chemotherapy, surgery, and/or treatment? Are there signs and symptoms I should be aware of?
  11. If cancer is only found in one of my breasts, should I consider prophylactic options? If yes, what are they?
  12. Should I see a doctor who specializes in treatment of ovarian cancer? Is so, who do you recommend?

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Breast Surgeon

Questions to ask your Breast Surgeon:

  1. How do I prepare for breast surgery?
  2. What happens before, during and after my surgery?
  3. When can I go back to work and resume normal activities?
  4. What is the difference between a mastectomy and lumpectomy? What are my options?
  5. Is breast reconstruction surgery an option if I want it?
  6. What does breast reconstruction surgery involve?
  7. Can breast reconstruction be done at the same time as the mastectomy?
  8. Will you be removing lymph nodes as part of my surgery? How many? What impact will that have?
  9. If I am high risk, is a mastectomy my only option for breast cancer prevention?
  10. Do I have to decide what type of surgery I am going to have right away?

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Gynecologic Oncologist

Questions to ask your Gynecologic Oncologist:

  1. What treatment options do you normally recommend for people with my type and stage of cancer?
  2. What are the anticipated results of this treatment?
  3. Would you recommend additional tests and, if so, what additional information would the tests provide?
  4. How will this treatment and surgery affect my ability to have children?
  5. Are there clinical trials that I may qualify for?
  6. What is my plan for follow up after chemotherapy, surgery, and/or treatment? Are there signs and symptoms I should be aware of?
  7. What are the recommendations regarding salpingectomy vs. oophorectomy vs. hysterectomy?
  8. If I am high risk, when should I consider getting a prophylactic oophorectomy or hysterectomy?

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Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon

Questions to ask your Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon:

  1. How do I know which type of reconstruction is best for me?
  2. What are the pros and cons of getting reconstructive plastic surgery at the same time as my breast surgery versus waiting?
  3. Will my reconstructed breast match my other breast?
  4. Will breast reconstruction surgery interfere with my chemotherapy or radiation therapy?
  5. What are my options for reconstruction if I am doing a prophylactic mastectomy?

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Radiation Oncologist

Questions to ask your Radiation Oncologist:

  1. What do you expect to be the outcome of radiation therapy?
  2. How many treatments are involved in the process?
  3. How long does each session last?
  4. What side effects should I expect to experience?
  5. Will any other parts of my body also be affected by the radiation?

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Radiologist

Questions to ask your Radiologist:

  1. What will my breast imaging show?
  2. How long will it take to receive my mammogram results?
  3. What happens next if the screening shows something that looks abnormal?
  4. Are there different options of types of mammograms or screenings that can be done?
  5. How often should I come in for a screening?

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Pathologist

Questions to ask your Pathologist:

  1. What types of tests will be done on the specimen?
  2. How is the tissue for the test obtained?
  3. How long does it take to receive my pathology report?
  4. What information does the pathology report contain?
  5. If I am having prophylactic surgery, will I get a pathology report?

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Primary Care Doctor

Questions to ask your Primary Care Doctor:

  1. Is there anything I should be doing differently while undergoing cancer treatment?
  2. Do I need to make any changes to my regular, not cancer related medications?
  3. Can you provide referrals for my cancer treatment team?
  4. If I know that I am at high risk for breast and/or ovarian cancer, at what point should I consider prophylactic surgery?
  5. 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?

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Fertility Specialist

  1. How may my cancer treatment affect my fertility?
  2. If I am doing prophylactic surgery, will this affect my fertility? How?
  3. Can I postpone my prophylactic surgery so that I can try to conceive?
  4. Can I preserve my fertility prior to treatment and/or prophylactic surgery? How?
  5. How long can embryos, eggs, and tissue be frozen for? Is this an option that I should consider?
  6. Can I postpone treatment to allow more time for ovulation stimulation?
  7. Should I consider taking drugs to suppress my ovarian function during treatment? What are the pros and cons?
  8. How long does it typically take for fertility to return after treatment?
  9. Is pregnancy safe for me after cancer and/or prophylactic surgery? If yes, how long should I wait?
  10. How long should I wait before not getting pregnant to see a fertility specialist?
  11. 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?

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Oncology Nurse

Questions to ask your Oncology Nurse:

  1. What is your specific role in my treatment process?
  2. Who is my main point person throughout my cancer process?
  3. Can I ask you questions if my doctor is not available?
  4. What do I do if I do not feel comfortable with my doctor?
  5. My doctor hasn’t called me back with my results, what should I do?
  6. Will you be following my case or will there be different nurses each time I get treated?
  7. If I need treatment, will it be administered by you or by the doctor?

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Oncology Social Worker

Questions to ask your Oncology Social Worker:

  1. How will you help me and my loved ones?
  2. How can you identify and connect me to the specific resources I need?
  3. At which point along my cancer journey will contacting you be helpful?
  4. Can you help me speak with my children about my cancer?
  5. How can you help me find financial assistance?
  6. I will need a home nursing aid; will you be able to help me find one?

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Genetic Counselor

Questions to ask your Genetic Counselor:

  1. What are the benefits of genetic counseling and testing?
  2. What specifically are genetic tests looking for?
  3. What happens if the test results prove that I am a carrier for a certain gene mutation?
  4. What information about my family history should I find out before my appointment?
  5. 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?

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Physical Therapist

Questions to ask your Physical Therapist:

  1. Are there specific exercises I can do before surgery to help the outcome of my surgery?
  2. How soon after my surgery (ie: prophylactic, mastectomy, lumpectomy, reconstruction) can I start physical therapy?
  3. Can you help me make a post-surgery exercise plan?
  4. Are there specific exercises that may help reduce the risk of lymphedema?
  5. Will physical therapy be painful? If so, what can I do for the pain?

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