July 28, 2014
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Breast Cancer

 Health Home >> Breast Cancer >> Questions for your health care team 


Questions for your health care team

It is very important to ask questions about your breast cancer relating to the cancer itself and your treatment. Understanding the risks and benefits of your options will give you a better idea of what to expect throughout your cancer treatment and what you can do when something comes up.

Print out the following list of questions, developed by the Canadian Cancer Society, to think about or ask your health care provider.

Risks

  • What puts an individual at higher than average risk for this type of cancer?
  • What are my personal risk factors?
  • Does my family history put me at higher than average risk?
  • Does my diet put me at higher than average risk?
  • What are my chances of developing this type of cancer?
  • What can I do to reduce my risk of developing this type of cancer?

Screening

  • Are screening tests available for me?
  • What test(s) should I have?
  • What are the risks involved?
  • How is the screening done?
  • Who makes the arrangements?
  • Where will the test(s) be done?
  • Do I need to do anything to prepare for the test(s)?
  • Is there a cost for the screening test(s) and if so, how much?
  • Who will give me the results? When will I receive them?
  • What happens if my results are not normal?
  • How often should I be screened?

Diagnosis

  • What test(s) do I need to have to find out if I have cancer?
  • Do I need a biopsy?
  • What are the risks involved?
  • How is the test done?
  • Who makes the arrangements?
  • Where will the test(s) be done?
  • When will my test(s) be scheduled? Is there a waiting list?
  • Do I need to do anything to prepare for the test(s)?
  • How long will the test(s) take?
  • How will I feel after the test(s)? Are there any side effects?
  • Will someone have to drive me home?
  • Are there special instructions to follow after?
  • Who will give me the results? When will I receive them?
  • What happens if the results are not normal?

Pathology and staging

  • Where did my cancer start?
  • What type or kind of cancer do I have?
  • What is the grade or how aggressive is my cancer?
  • What is the stage or extent of my cancer?
  • Has the cancer spread to my lymph nodes?
  • Has the cancer spread (metastasized) to other areas of my body? If so, where?
  • Do I need amy more test before treatment can start? If so, what are the tests and why do they need to be done?
  • Can you give me an idea of my chance of recovery or prognosis?

Treatment

  • Is treatment necessary for this type of cancer?
  • What treatment(s) are available for this type of cancer?
  • What treatment(s) are recommended for my situation? Why?
  • Can you explain the recommended treatment(s) to me?
  • What are the benefits and risks of the treatment(s)?
  • What are the side effects of the treatment(s)?
  • Where will I have the treatment(s) and who will do the treatment(s)?
  • When will the treatment(s) begin? Is there a waiting list for treatment
  • How long will the treatment(s) take?
  • What else should be considered before making a decision about treatment?
  • How much time can be taken to make a decision about treatment?
  • What are the chances that treatment will be successful?
  • What will happen without treatment?

Supportive care

  • How often should I see the cancer specialist for checkups (follow-up visits) after my treatment is finished?
  • How often should I see my family doctor for checkups (follow-up visits)?
  • Who should I talk to if I need help with my diet or pain management? What can be done?
  • Who should I talk to if I have late or long-term side effects from my treatment? What can be done?
  • Who should I talk to if I have physical, emotional, or sexual problems? What can be done?
  • Will I need help at home? Who should I talk to about getting help with activities at home such as bathing, cooking, and house cleaning?
  • How can I find out about services or programs that might help me?
  • How can I meet other people in the same situation as me?
  • What type of support is available for my family members or friends?
  • Who can I contact if I need financial assistance?

Clinical trials

  • Is there any research being done for my type of cancer?
  • What are clinical trials? Can you explain them to me?
  • Are any clinical trials available for my type of cancer?
  • Am I eligible to participate in a clinical trial?
  • What is the purpose of the study?
  • What does the study involve?
  • Are placebos used in this study?
  • What are the benefits and risks of participating?
  • Am I expected to pay any costs?
  • Can I speak to other people with cancer who are in the study?
  • What tests, procedures, or treatments should I expect?
  • What are the possible side effects of the trial treatment? How are these usually managed?
  • Has this treatment or therapy ever been tested before? If so, what were the results?
  • Is there any activity or treatment that is not allowed while I am on the study?
  • How long will I be involved?
  • What happens after the study is over? What type of care can I expect to receive?
  • What if I decide to drop out of the study?
  • How do I sign up for a clinical trial?
 
Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team 

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