Talking to your doctor about the risk of recurrence
Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, you’ve likely experienced a range of emotions — and are no stranger to fear. It is perfectly normal to have concerns about the future and to worry about the possibility of your cancer coming back.
Take a deep breath, and then talk to your doctor. He or she will be able to provide solid information to help you take control of your fear. Don’t be shy. The more questions you ask about your unique situation, the more you’ll know. And the more you know about the risk of recurrence, the better able you will be to make informed decisions about your treatment with your doctor.
Below are some questions you may want to ask your doctor about the risk of breast cancer recurrence. Remember, every woman’s experience is different. Take time to be sure you get the answers you need.
Risk of recurrence and staying aware of your health
- What are the chances of my cancer coming back, based on my cancer stage and characteristics?
- How does my nodal status affect my risk for recurrence?
- Can my cancer recur even if I’ve had a mastectomy or a lumpectomy?
- Can my cancer recur even if I’ve already had radiation therapy or chemotherapy?
- What can I do to reduce my risk of breast cancer recurrence?
- How often should I schedule appointments with you, and what type of tests should I have at each visit?
- How often should I have a mammography?
- How often should I do a breast self-exam?
- It’s been a number of years since my initial diagnosis — can my cancer still recur?
Hormonal treatment to help decrease the risk of recurrence
- Is hormonal treatment an option for me?
- What kind of hormonal treatment is best for me, and why?
- Are there other hormonal treatment options that may be right for me?
- When will I start hormonal treatment and how long will I need to take it?
- How is hormonal treatment given?
- What are the side effects of hormonal treatment? How long will they last?
- How can I manage side effects?
- How often should I schedule appointments with you and what type of tests should I have at each visit? Will I need follow-up visits and tests after hormonal treatment? How often?
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