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Questions to Ask your Oncologist

Questions to ask your doctor about breast cancerThese are just a few suggestions. Delete some that don’t apply and add others of your own. It is always a good idea to record the answers to the questions if you physician will allow it, as it is often hard to take everything in when you are under stress. Or take someone with you as support and an extra pair of ears.
In addition, do not be afraid to ask for a second or third opinion if you are able. Your doctor should be willing to explain the treatment they are proposing and answer any questions you might have.

  1. Is my cancer invasive? What does this mean?
  2. Has my cancer metastasized?
  3. What is my lymph node status? What does this mean?
  4. How large is my tumor?
  5. What grade is my tumor? What does this mean?
  6. What is my hormone receptor status? What does this mean in terms of tumor growth and treatment options?
  7. What is my her2/neu status? What does this mean in terms of tumor growth and treatment options?
  8. Is there a way to tell how fast my tumor is growing?
  9. How likely is my cancer to spread or return?
  10. What treatments will I need/do you recommend?
  11. Why are you recommending this therapy? What are the benefits/side-effects?
  12. Are there other ways to treat the cancer?
  13. Where do I go for chemotherapy? Can you describe what will happen? How long does each treatment take?
  14. Will I be able to drive myself home after chemotherapy?
  15. Will my hair fall out after chemotherapy? When?
  16. Will chemotherapy induce early menopause?
  17. What should I avoid during treatment?
  18. Should I change my diet or lifestyle?
  19. Which tests can tell me more about my individual cancer and whether I am likely to benefit from chemotherapy? Am I a candidate for tests such as Oncotype DX?

In addition, the American Society of Clinical Oncology has a very extensive list of questions that is very helpful, see ASCO: Questions to Ask