One of the main advantages of working with a breast cancer specialist as opposed to a general oncologist is the ability to get individualized advice and guidance from a professional who specializes in treating your condition. Your oncologists can not only explain your diagnosis and help you understand your treatment options, but also tell you what sort of side effects you might experience and help you improve your quality of life.
Communicating effectively with your breast cancer treatment team
If you’ve recently been diagnosed with breast cancer, it’s important to remember that your treatment team is here to help. You’ll want to be able to talk openly and honestly with your breast cancer specialist, asking any questions that come to mind and asking for clarification if you don’t understand a specific term or explanation. You might also find it helpful to bring a friend or family member with you to your appointments to help you take notes and remember information.
What to ask your oncologist
If you’re not sure what you should ask your breast cancer specialist, the following questions can help you get a conversation started:
- What kind of breast cancer do I have?
- What is the prognosis for this type of breast cancer?
- Has my cancer spread outside of my breast? What is its stage?
- What are the different treatment options and which would you recommend?
- Are there any advantages to scheduling my treatments in a specific order?
- What other specialists should I consult with during treatment?
- Would genetic testing be beneficial for me?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I should make to get ready for treatment?
- Will treatment hurt? Will I experience changes in my sexual health?
- What sort of side effects might I experience and how will they impact my day-to-day life? Are there ways to manage them?
- Are there any limitations on what I should (or should not) do during treatment?
- How will we know if my treatment is working?
- What sort of testing will I need after my treatment is complete?
- How will we know if the cancer comes back? What is our plan if this happens?
- Should I think about enrolling in a clinical trial? Are there any current trials that are open to patients with my specific diagnosis?
Consult with a breast cancer specialist at Moffitt Cancer Center
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we welcome patients with all types and stages of breast cancer to visit our Don & Erika Wallace Comprehensive Breast Program. Our team includes medical oncologists (oncologists who specialize in chemotherapy), radiation oncologists, surgical oncologists and highly experienced social workers and supportive care providers who can answer any questions you might have.
If you’re ready to talk with a breast cancer specialist, you can do so at Moffitt with or without a physician’s referral. Call 1-888-663-3488or submit a new patient registration form online to request an appointment.