10 Questions Your Doctor Should Answer About Your Breast Cancer DiagnosisThe Breast Cancer Site
A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, and can certainly leave you feeling lost and confused. It may be easy to forget about some of the basic details that come along with such weighty health news. Yet after you receive your diagnosis, there are several important follow-up questions you should make sure to ask if your doctor hasn’t already covered them. Here are some of those questions your doctor should answer after you’ve received your diagnosis.
10. What stage is the cancer?
Knowing what stage your breast cancer is and how much it has spread will inform you of your best treatment options. A doctor determines the stage on whether or not the cancer is invasive, or spreading, the size of the tumor, and how far it has spread. A later-stage diagnosis may require more aggressive treatment.
9. What are my chances of survival?
It’s the big question that everyone wants to know. If you’re ready to ask, your doctor should be able to provide you with a 5-year survival rate. This is an estimate that tells patients what percentage of people who’ve faced a similar type of cancer are alive five years after their diagnosis. While these numbers provide one type of outlook, they do not tell the whole story. Your personal outlook depends on a variety of factors, including the stage of your cancer, as well how much it was developed at the time of your diagnosis.
8. Is there enough information to recommend a treatment plan?
Obviously, you want to begin treatment as soon as possible. Ask your doctor if you have enough information to begin a treatment plan and get a leg up on your medical care. Your treatment plan will depend on a variety of factors, including your age, your overall health, and the stage and type of your breast cancer. There are two types of breast cancer treatments, which are local therapy and systemic therapy. Local therapy involves the removal of a tumor and radiation, while systemic therapy includes chemotherapy or hormone therapy to treat cancer cells that have become more widespread.
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