Questions to ask your doctor about treatment choices

There are many different breast cancer treatment options. After your breast cancer diagnosis, you and your doctors will put together a treatment plan specific to your type and stage of breast cancer, based on your pathology report. Your treatment plan will be made up of one or more specific treatments that are intended to target the cancer cells in different ways and reduce the risk of future breast cancer recurrence. Here are some good questions to ask your doctor as you work with him or her to select the best treatment for you.


But first one very important tip: If possible, please bring someone with you to your appointment. You will be hearing a lot of new information. A second set of ears and someone to take notes will be very helpful. If you don’t have someone to go with you, please contact Forge’s Client Services Coordinator, Janet Dees, at (205) 990-5367 or [email protected]. She may be able to match you with a peer mentor who has had breast cancer, too, and can go with you to your appointment.


  1. What are my treatment choices (surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy)?
  2. What treatment do you recommend and why?
  3. How long do I have to make a treatment decision?
  4. What type of doctor will I see for my treatment(s)?
  5. Where will treatment be done?
  6. What’s the goal of my treatment?
  7. Should I get a second opinion? How do I do that?
  8. If I need surgery, what do you recommend and why?
  9. Will any of my lymph nodes (located under the arm) be removed? Why? What is a sentinel node biopsy?
  10. If I choose to have breast reconstruction, what are my options? When should it be done?
  11. If I choose not to have breast reconstruction, what are my options?
  12. What is a clinical trial? Should I join one?
  13. What would we do if the treatment doesn’t work or if the cancer comes back?
  14. Will I go through menopause as a result of the treatment?
  15. Will I be able to have children after treatment? Would I be able to breastfeed?
  16. How much will I have to pay for treatment? Will my insurance cover any of it?
  17. How long will treatment last? What will it involve?
  18. What risks and side effects should I expect?
  19. What can I do to reduce the side effects of the treatment?
  20. Will I need blood transfusions?
  21. How will treatment affect my daily activities?
  22. Will I be able to work during treatment?
  23. Will I lose my hair? If so, what can I do about it?
  24. What should I do to get ready for treatment?
  25. Should I change what I eat or make other lifestyle changes?
  26. How will I know if the treatment is working?
  27. Will I need special tests, such as imaging scans or blood tests, and how often?


If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Forge’s Client Services Coordinator, Janet Dees, at (205)990-5367 or [email protected].

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