1. Is breast-conserving surgery (lumpectomy) an option for me? Why or why not?
2. What are the positive and negative sides of breast-conserving surgery versus mastectomy?
3. How many surgeries like mine have you done?
4. Will you have to take out lymph nodes? If so, would you advise a sentinel lymph node biopsy? Why or why not?
5. What side effects might lymph node removal cause?
6. Will I have stitches or staples at the surgery site? Will there be a drain (tube) coming out of the site?
7. How do I care for the surgery site? Will I need someone to help me?
8. What will my breasts look and feel like after my treatment? Will I have normal feeling in them?
9. What will the scar look like?
10. Is breast reconstruction surgery an option if I want it? What would it mean in my case?
11. Can I have reconstruction at the same time as the surgery to remove the cancer? What are the reasons for and against having it done right away or waiting until later?
12. What types of reconstruction might be options for me?
13. Should I speak with a plastic surgeon about reconstruction options?
14. Will I need a breast form (prosthesis), and if so, where can I get one?
15. Do I need to stop taking any medications or supplements before surgery?
16. When should I call your office if I am having side effects?
17. Are you board-certified?
18. Do you specialize in this type of surgery?
19. Do I need any other tests before this surgery?
20. Am I a candidate for a lumpectomy?
21. Do I need a mastectomy? Is reconstruction (plastic surgery) an option for me? What are the advantages and disadvantages? Is it possible to avoid removing my nipple and areola?
22. What is a sentinel lymph node biopsy? What are the benefits and risks? Would you recommend it for me?
23. What is the risk of lymphedema with a sentinel lymph node biopsy? With axillary lymph node dissection?
24. Should I consider chemotherapy before surgery?
25. Will I need radiation therapy after surgery? Does this affect my reconstruction options?
26. When do I need to decide about surgery?
27. What should I do to get ready for the operation? Do you have recommendations on how to help me relax before surgery?
28. Will you describe exactly what you will do during this operation, and why?
29. Will my tumor be saved? Where will it be stored? For how long? How can it be accessed in the future?
30. What are the potential risks and side effects of this operation? What can be done to ease side effects following surgery?
31. Does the hospital offer programs that help aid healing?
32. Will I need to be admitted to a hospital for this operation? If so, how long will I stay in the hospital?
33. What type of anesthesia will I need for this operation?
34. How long do I have to wait for my preoperative test results? Do I call you, or does your office call me?
35. Will a pathologist examine the tissue and write a report? Who will explain that report to me?
36. What are the possible complications for this type of surgery? How would I know if there is a problem?
37. How long will it take me to recover after the surgery?
38. When can I return to work and other daily activities?
39. Will there be permanent effects from the surgery?
40. What type of clothes should I bring to go home in? Will I need a special type of bra?
41. Are there instructions or post-operative care pamphlets I can take home with me? When can I shower or bathe?
42. Will I need to have surgical drains? What does this mean? How long will the surgical drains be in?
43. Do I need a nurse to visit my home after surgery? How is this arranged?
44. When will I need to return for a follow-up appointment?
45. Will I need help at home after the surgery?
46. What kind of pain will I be in afterwards? Can you help me manage my pain?
47. When should I call your office if I experience any side effects?
48. What type of breast cancer do I have?
49. What is the size of the tumor?
50. What is the grade and stage of this disease? What are my biomarkers? What does these mean?
51. What are the chances that the breast cancer will return?
52. Can you explain my pathology report (laboratory test results) to me?
53. Can I get a copy of my pathology report? How and when can I get these results?
54. Was all the cancer removed during the surgery?
55. How many lymph nodes were removed?
56. Has the cancer spread to any of the lymph nodes? If so, how many? Has the cancer spread to anywhere else in my body?
57. Do I need additional surgery?
58. If I have a mastectomy without reconstruction, where can I get a prosthesis? Is this covered by my insurance?
59. Will my arm be affected by surgery? For how long? Will I need physical therapy for my arm?
60. Will my surgeon communicate with my medical oncologist or radiation oncologist?
61. Do you recommend any genetic testing of the tumor?