When you are first diagnosed with breast cancer, there is a lot of information floating around about possible treatment methods and survival rates. You might have a hard time wrapping your head around it, but coming to a doctor appointment armed with questions can help. Here are some questions to ask your doctor about treatment options:
What are the treatment options?
Ask your doctor to lay out all possible options of treatment. Have him or her explain how long each will take, what your chances of survival will be with that treatment, and how likely the cancer is to come back after each possible option. You'll want to know every possible option in order to make an informed decision that fits best with your lifestyle and will give you the best outcome.
What do you recommend I do?
Experienced doctors will have had experience with other people who have the breast cancer type that you have. They may have valuable insight into how other peoples' bodies reacted to various types of treatment and therefore have a useful recommendation for what they think is best for you.
How will the treatment affect my life?
If you have hopes of becoming pregnant after your treatment, you will want to ask if your chosen method will affect that. Some options may change the way your body is processing hormones and can send you into menopause. Be sure to ask how the treatment will affect your daily life. Will you have hair loss? Are there uncomfortable side effects? What can you do to avoid those? Is there a different method that has fewer side effects? You'll want to know what is going to change once you start the process.
Talk over your possible options with your family. If you are in a support group, you may find you know patients that have undergone the types of treatment you are considering. They can offer advice that only those who've had breast cancer can give. If you still aren't sure what to do, seeking a second opinion is always OK.Whizzco