14 Questions You Should Ask Before Breast Cancer Surgery

Questions You Should Ask Before Breast Cancer SurgeryA diagnosis of breast cancer is a daunting experience to say the least. Even a breast cancer scare can bring on a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, so understandably the news of breast cancer surgery can be terrifying.

There are two main types of breast cancer surgery: lumpectomy and mastectomy. Partial mastectomy, or lumpectomy, is a breast-conserving surgery where only the part of the breast containing the cancer and some surrounding normal tissue is removed. The nipple and areola are left in a skin-sparing mastectomy, allowing for quicker reconstruction.  In a mastectomy, the entire breast is removed. Susan G. Komen offers downloadable topic cards on a variety of breast cancer issues. Here are 14 questions Susan G. Komen recommends you should ask your doctor before breast cancer surgery:

  • What surgery do you suggest for me and why?
  • Will some or all of my lymph nodes (located under the arm) be removed? Why?
  • What is a sentinel node biopsy?
  • How long will I be in the hospital? Will I need help when I get home?
  • How might I feel after the surgery
  • When will I be able to go back to my normal, daily activities?
  • Will my breast(s) feel different after surgery?
  • Will I have a drain (tube that removes fluid from the breast) in place when I go home? If so, how will I care for it and when will it be removed?
  • When will I find out the results of my surgery?
  • When should I return to see you after surgery?
  • What side effects might I have after surgery (i.e. pain, tenderness, bruising, scarring, numbness)? Which ones should I report to you? Will any of the side effects be long term?
  • Will I need any other treatments? If so, which ones and how long after surgery will they start?
  • If I choose to have breast reconstructions, when should it be done? Will you refer me to a reconstructive surgeon?
  • If I choose not to have reconstruction, what are my options?

In order to make informed decisions about your health care it is important to understand the full circumstances around your condition and the options for treatment. The questions listed above are a mere starting point to help you learn more about your care. The women’s health team at Premier Surgical Associates empowers patients and their families to take an active role in the decisions regarding cancer treatment and management. To learn more about your options for breast cancer surgery at Premier Surgical Associates in Knoxville, visit our website.

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