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Patient Educ.(15) Questions




As mentioned in the beginning of this patient information, the purpose is to provide you with information concerning the subject of breast problems. However, this should not take the place of talking with your surgeon. You should feel free to ask him any questions you have.

Do not hesitate to ask questions and learn the facts. With this knowledge, you will feel more confident that the decision you make is the right one for you.

You or your family may find it difficult to ask your surgeon some of the questions you may have. This is understandable, because cancer and its treatment are complex. Even your surgeon may not always be able to give definite answers. But he should be willing to discuss your questions with you.

Occasionally a Breast Center or a surgeon will have a clinical coordinator working with them. The role of the clinical coordinator is to function as a liaison between the surgeon and the patient. The coordinator will act as a patient educator by answering questions the patient may have and by providing the patient with information.

It is helpful to write down your questions as you think of them. The questions listed below are examples of what you may want to know about your treatment. You may want to add your own questions to the list.


  1. Will you teach me how to do BSE (breast self-examination)?
  2. What should I look for when I do BSE?
  3. How can I distinguish lumps from other parts of my breast?
  4. What kinds of lumps do I have?
  5. Do you think I need to have a biopsy?
  6. How often should I make an appointment to see you?


What type of breast cancer do I have?

  1. What kind of procedure are you recommending?
  2. What are the potential risks and benefits?
  3. Am I a candidate for any other type of procedure?
  4. What are the risks and benefits of those alternatives?
  5. How should I expect to look after the operation?
  6. How should I expect to feel after surgery?
  7. When will I be able to get back to my normal routine?
  8. What can I do to insure a safe recovery?
  9. What problems, if any, should I report to you?
  10. What type of exercises should I do?
  11. How frequently should I see you for a checkup?
  12. When will I know the results of the final pathology?


What will radiation feel like during the treatment?

What benefits do you expect from this therapy?

  1. What type of radiation therapy will I be getting?
  2. How long do the treatments take? How many will I need? How often?
  3. Can I schedule treatment at a certain time of day?
  4. What if I have to miss a treatment?
  5. What risks are involved?
  6. What side effects should I expect? What can I do about them?
  7. Who will give me the treatments? Where are they given?
  8. Will I need a special diet?


  1. What do you expect the drugs to do for me?
  2. Which drugs will I be getting? How is each one given?
  3. How long do the treatments take? How many will I need?
  4. Where are the treatments given?
  5. What side effects should I expect? What can I do about them?
  6. What risks are involved?
  7. What happens if I miss a dose?
  8. Can I take other medicines during treatment?
  9. Will I need a special diet or other restrictions?
  10. Can I drink alcoholic beverages during treatment?


  1. How often should I return for an examination? For lab tests?
  2. What tests will be performed at those times?
  3. What will the tests tell us?
  4. When I do breast exam, what am I looking for?
  5. Should I watch for any particular signs of recurrence?


How many breast reconstructions have you done and what type of results have you achieved? May I see photographs of other patients?

  1. May I talk to patients who have had this surgery?
  2. Which reconstruction approach is appropriate for me? Why?
  3. What is involved in this surgery?
  4. What type of anesthesia: local or general?
  5. How many different procedures and hospitalizations will be needed?
  6. What type of incisions will I have and exactly where will they be placed?
  7. What are the expected results of surgery? Is it painful?
  8. What can I expect my reconstructed breast to look and feel like? Right after surgery? In 6 months? In a year?
  9. How long will it take me to recuperate?
  10. What are the anticipated costs of surgery?
  11. What are possible complications from this surgery?
  12. What precautions, if any, should I take after surgery to avoid complications

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