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Questions To Ask About Breast Cancer

How Does Breast Cancer Affect The Tumor

Questions to Ask After Your Breast Cancer Surgery

Particular characteristics of breast cancer cells affect how aggressive your tumor is. These include the amount of tumor cells that are reproducing, and how abnormal the tumor cells appear when examined under a microscope. The higher the grade, the less the cancer cells resemble normal breast cells. The grade of your tumor can influence your

Do We Have Time To Talk About My Questions Today

Patients especially female tend to clam up in the presence of specialists such as male oncologists who authoritatively recommend preventative mastectomies. I, too, feel overwhelmed in a doctors office. Im not worried about being seen as difficult or aggressive . I just freeze.

You may have heard the advice to write down your questions before your oncology appointment especially if youve already been advised to get a preventative mastectomy. Take it one step further and ask the doctor if he or she has time to discuss your questions today. Getting a mastectomy may seem like no big deal to a surgeon who slices a dozen breasts off a dozen women a weekbut this is a huge deal to you. Also, bring someone with you to your oncologist appointment. Ask him or her to write down everything the doctor says . This way you wont miss or forget important information.

You might also want to ask your oncologist about prayers for healing and recovery after surgery. Many doctors have a sense of the power of God in the operating and recovery room.

What If My Doctors Too Busy

It may help to mention at the start of your appointment that you have some questions and let your doctor decide whether to answer them right away or at the end of the appointment. If you get the sense that your doctor doesnt have time for your questions, it may be time to find a new doctor. Its your life and your health, and you deserve a doctor who listens and takes you seriously.

Recommended Reading: What Of Breast Cancer Is Hereditary

Questions About Your Diagnosis

If youve been diagnosed with breast cancer, you may want to learn everything you can about your cancer, or you may want information a bit at a time.

Dont be afraid to ask questions of your specialist, breast care nurse or anyone else in your treatment team.

It may take a while for them to gather all the details of your diagnosis while different tests and investigations are carried out.

You may get bits of information as you go along and sometimes this information can change.

Should I Get Genetic Testing

Breast Cancer Prevention

Not all women who have breast cancer need genetic counseling and testing, but depending on your age, medical history and family history of disease, your breast cancer surgeon may recommend genetic testing or for you to talk with a genetic counselor. Keep in mind that the majority of breast cancers are not due to an inherited genetic mutation. However, if your cancer is one of the 5 to 10% of breast cancers that is, knowing this information can change the direction of your treatment plan.

I needed to have that spiritual connection. I felt that connection at Loma Linda. Thats what freed me to be positive.

Katie Smith

Patient navigators are registered nurses trained in oncology care to guide you through the challenges of dealing with cancer. They are here to support you as you go through diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Contact the Patient Navigator team at 800-782-2623.

Also Check: What Is The Blood Test For Breast Cancer

Things To Know Before Radiation Therapy

As part of my vulvar cancer treatment, I underwent five days of radiation therapy treatments for six weeks.Going into it, I had no idea what to expect, and after about two weeks, I started to feel like a baked potato that had been left in the microwave too long.Today, Im cancer-free, so in the end it was worth it. But it was difficult at times. Here are some things I wish I would have known before starting radiation therapy.

  • Its important to be flexible. Your scheduled appointments will be fluid. This means from one day to the next, your appointment could be anywhere from an hour early to an hour later. There will be people who cancel at the last minute and others who require more time than expected. Just be ready, and try not get upset by the changes.
  • You will be fitted for a cradle. Not the kind you slept in as a child. Similar to a beanbag chair that hardens to your shape, the cradle will help keep you in place for radiation therapy. Every day I was grateful for the cradle. It allowed the radiation to reach the tumor while protecting the healthy parts of my body.
  • Your skin will begin breaking down, or at least thats how the doctors describe it. What does that mean exactly? It means your skin will become red and sensitive in the affected area, and then will dissolve. You will have some open burns, but Aquaphor or some other healing ointment can help.

Newly Diagnosed Cancer Patients: Questions To Ask Your Health Care Team

Patients and their families often come into The Learning Center, where I work as a librarian, to seek information. After interacting with people for many years — and from reviewing the large amount of information we have access to here –I’ve come to understand what information newly diagnosed patients and their families need.

Some patients are anxious if they don’t have enough information. Other people get stressed or feel overwhelmed by too much information.

No matter which type of cancer patient you are, asking your health care team the right questions about your disease and cancer treatment can play an important part in managing your care.

I recommend the following basic questions for newly diagnosed cancer patients. Answers to these questions may allow you to feel less overwhelmed and better able to manage your cancer journey.

Just be sure to think about what you’d like to know right now, and tell your doctor if you would like a little information or a lot.

Cancer diagnosis

  • What type of cancer do I have? What is my exact diagnosis?
  • Where is the cancer located? Has it spread?·
  • What is my prognosis?
  • What’s the stage of my cancer?
  • What does this stage mean for my cancer treatment and prognosis?

Cancer treatment

  • What are my treatment options?
  • Which treatment do you recommend and why?
  • What’s the goal of my treatment?
  • What side effects does this treatment have?
  • How often will I have treatments? How long will they last?
  • How should I prepare for treatment?

Support

Financial

Also Check: Signs Of Breast Cancer Metastasis

Things To Expect And Ways To Prepare For Your Radiation Therapy

As weve previously discussed, there are many myths and misconceptions about radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, often leaving patients and their family members unsure about what to anticipate during their treatment course. Lets demystify some of that today.

ONE: first day of school, down in the dungeons?

  • Much like first-day-of-school jitters, your first session of radiation therapy is often the most anxiety-provoking. This is only natural as its something new and unfamiliar.
  • Radiation therapy often takes place below ground for reasons of shielding, and so it is likely that you will receive your therapy on the lowest floor of the building.
  • Prior to therapy starting, a session called planning or simulation is performed to mimic the exact position and setup for treatment. If the brain, head or neck region is being targeted, a special customised mask may need to be created. You may wish to bring a support person with you to navigate through these sorts of new experiences.
  • At treatment you will be welcomed and orientated by a team of radiation therapists who specialise in radiation therapy delivery as per the plan prescribed by your oncologist.
  • This team of RTs will remain fairly constant during your therapy period and before long, as their faces become familiar, you would have formed your own school clique!

TWO: timing and punctuality

THREE: getting from point A to point B

FOUR: whos keeping an eye on me?

FIVE: special considerations

Q: If I Have Fibrocystic Breasts Am I At Higher Risk For Breast Cancer

Ask the Expert: Questions About Breast Cancer Surgery

A: About 50 percent of women will be affected by fibrocystic breast condition at some point in their lives. Fibrocystic breasts are common and noncancerous. Fibrocystic breasts are not a risk factor for breast cancer. They do make detection with standard imaging and exam techniques more difficult, but not impossible.

Also Check: What R The First Signs Of Breast Cancer

Getting Second Opinion On Breast Cancer Is Recommended

As mentioned above, breast cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer from which women suffer. However, in many cases, it has been seen that the problem has not been diagnosed properly and led to complications later. Even if you ask an oncologist online and start a treatment, it is always good if you go for a second opinion just to be sure that the treatment you are getting is the right one.For many patients, there is confusion whether surgery is needed or not as part of the treatment plan. In such cases second and sometimes third opinions can be really useful for clearing the doubt from the mind. Ask the vital questions about breast cancer even when you seek online medical second opinion and get proper answers before starting to get ready mentally for the surgery for breast cancer treatment.

While Taking Decision On The Treatment Plan

Once breast cancer is diagnosed one must seek consultation from the best doctor for cancer and start treatment immediately so that the problem does not aggravate. If visiting a doctor physically is not possible, you can ask an oncologist online.4. What are the different treatment choices available for breast cancer?5. Is it good to take part in some kind of clinical trial for breast cancer?6. What will be the length of the treatment and how will be the whole process like? Moreover, where will be the treatment done?7. Are there any kinds of side effects of the treatment for breast cancer? Suggest ways for preparing for the treatment of breast cancer.8. Are there chances of cancer making a comeback even after the whole treatment process?

Read Also: What Is Bilateral Breast Cancer

Questions To Ask Your Doctor

  • What kind of breast cancer do I have? What stage is it? What does that mean?
  • Where exactly do I have cancer? Is it in my lymph nodes?
  • What treatment options do you recommend for me, and why?
  • How should I get ready for treatment?
  • Can diet, exercise, and other lifestyle choices help my recovery?
  • After I’m treated, whatâs my risk of getting other cancers? Are my family members at risk?
  • Will breast cancer treatment affect my ability to have children?
  • What are my options for breast reconstruction?
  • Are there clinical trials that might be well-matched for me?
  • Are there breast cancer support groups in my area?
  • Who Will Be Involved In This Procedure

    Breast Cancer Prevention

    Brachytherapy requires a treatment team. This team includes a radiation oncologist, medical physicist, dosimetrist, radiation therapist, nurse and, sometimes, a surgeon. The radiation oncologist is a highly trained doctor who specializes in treating cancer with radiotherapy. The oncologist evaluates the patient, identifies the treatment and determines the appropriate therapy and radiation dose. In some cases, a surgeon will assist by placing treatment devices in the patient. The medical physicist, dosimetrist and oncologist determine how to deliver the radiation and how much the patient can tolerate. The physicist and the dosimetrist then make detailed treatment calculations. The radiation therapist, a specially trained technologist, may help deliver treatment. The nurse provides information about the treatment and possible side effects. The nurse also helps manage care for treatment catheters.

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    Choosing The Right Implant For Breast Augmentation

    Some people ask if theres a difference between breast augmentation and breast implants. The answer is simple: Breast augmentation is the general term for procedures that enhance the size of the breast. Breast implants are simply the synthetic devices that are implanted. Choosing the right implant involves more than deciding between materials having the right size, width and profile also are important to achieving a natural appearance.

    Both saline and silicone implants are made with an outer shell of silicone. Saline implants are filled with sterilized salt water after theyve been inserted. Silicone implants come already filled with a gel-like fluid that many people believe feels more like human fat.

    The newest generation of implants are made with cohesive silicone gel a denser, firmer substance often compared to gummi-bear candies. Theyre designed to be firm enough to avoid being pulled down by gravity and eventually distorting the breast shape, but soft enough to feel natural.

    The implant needs to fit the patient in size. Too large an implant can result in deformity from trying to fit too much material in too small a space it also could stretch the skin of the breast and be impossible to position correctly on the chest.

    Why Its Important To Ask Your Breast Cancer Surgeon Questions

    Breast cancer surgery, and treatment in general is an incredibly personal journey. Sometimes even the best breast cancer surgeon in the whole country isnt the right one for you. Asking questions helps you find a surgeon who makes you feel comfortable, supports your decisions, advocates for your health, and is open with you about options.

    Use these questions listed above to help guide your journey of finding the right breast cancer surgeon for your personal journey.

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    What Is The Difference Between Radiation And Chemotherapy

    Chemotherapy involves medications delivered by injections or taken in pill form. This type of treatment is circulated throughout the entire body and is generally prescribed by a medical oncologist. Radiation therapy, delivered by a radiation oncologist, uses radiotherapy beams focused on a very specific area of the body in order to deliver high doses of the treatment while reducing the risk of radiation exposure to healthy tissue.

    Questions To Ask When Diagnosed With Breast Cancer

    Ask Mayo Clinic: Breast Cancer
    • 10 Questions to Ask When Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

    Once diagnosed with breast cancer, youll likely have many questions about your diagnosis, treatment and recovery. To get the conversation started, below are 10 questions to ask your care team.

  • What kind of breast cancer do I have and at what stage?
  • Has cancer spread to my lymph nodes?
  • What is my prognosis?
  • Who will be a part of my cancer care team and what does each person do?
  • What are my treatment options?
  • Are there more tests and procedures needed to determine my treatment plan?
  • What is the goal of my treatment?
  • What can I do myself to get ready for treatment?
  • Can I get a second opinion?
  • Who can I go to for support?
  • Answers to these questions will help you prepare for your treatment and recovery. And there are sure to be many questions along the way. Keep a list and the lines of communication open with your care team. They are here to help with your questions and concerns both large and small.

    Also Check: Words Of Encouragement For Breast Cancer

    Why Is It Important To Test For Her2

    For example, the American Cancer Society recommends that all patients with invasive breast cancer be tested to see if their tumor cells contain high levels of the HER2 protein receptor. This is important because there are additional treatment options for HER2-positive breast cancers. Ask your oncologist if your cancer is HER2-positive.

    Should I Get A Second Opinion

    A second opinion may confirm the original diagnosis and treatment plan, provide more details about the type and stage of the breast cancer, raise additional treatment options not considered, or lead to a recommendation for a different course of action. A second opinion may also help patients feel more confident in their treatment decisions and help them find a doctor they feel comfortable with.

    Recommended Reading: Chemo For Triple Negative Breast Cancer

    Questions For Your Next Doctors Visit

    • What breast cancer screening tests do you recommend for me? Would I benefit from a mammogram or clinical breast exam?
    • What are the risks and benefits of breast cancer screening?
    • Am I at higher risk of breast cancer? If so, do I need special screening tests or do I need to be screened more often? Do you have everything you need to estimate my risk?

    If your doctor recommends screening:

    • How often should I be screened?
    • Which screening tests do you recommend?
    • If a problem is found, what will we do next?

    If your doctor doesnt recommend mammograms at this point and youre under age 40:

    • When should I start getting mammograms?

    If your doctor doesnt recommend mammograms at this point and youre in your 40s:

    • Can we discuss the benefits and risks of mammography for me?

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