No doubt about it, facing a breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and frightening. Understandably, you may feel that you don’t know where to start on this journey that you didn’t ask to take.
The first step is to begin gathering information about the type of breast cancer you’ve been diagnosed with and what your best options are for the surgical removal of that type of breast cancer. Breast cancer surgery has advanced in tremendous ways in recent years, so you most likely will have many questions about the type of surgery and treatments that are available.
There may be multiple techniques for one type of procedure, so you’ll want to be reassured that your surgeon’s plan is the best option for your outcome.
Take comfort in knowing that your designated breast navigator will be with you during the first meeting with your surgeon, and each meeting thereafter. She will help you keep track of the questions you want to ask as well as the answers the surgeon discusses with you.
Here are some important questions to consider asking your breast cancer surgeon:
Understanding the type of surgery:
- How many surgeries of this type of breast cancer have you performed?
- What are your credentials and training experience?
- Is a lumpectomy, or partial removal of my breast, an option for me rather than a total mastectomy or removal of the breast?
- If I have a choice between a lumpectomy or a mastectomy, what are the pros and cons of each option in my case?
- What is the best possible outcome from my surgery?
- What is the worst case scenario from this type of surgery?
- What risks or side effects of this surgery do I need to know about?
- Will you have to remove lymph nodes? If so, how is this done?
- How long does this type of surgery typically take and where will it be done?
- Should I get a second opinion? How do I go about doing that?
Before and after surgery:
- Is there anything I need to do to prepare for the surgery?
- Do I need to stop taking medications or supplements before surgery?
- Is there anything I can do before surgery to help the healing process after surgery?
- What will my breasts look and feel like after surgery?
- Will I have stitches or staples, and will there be a drainage tube at the site?
- What will the scar look like?
- How do I care for the surgical site?
- Is there anything I can do to reduce side effects?
- How do I know when I should call your office if I’m having side effects?
- How long of a recovery period should I expect?
- Is breast reconstructive surgery an option if I want it?
- What are the pros and cons of reconstruction in my case?
- Do I need to consult a plastic surgeon about reconstruction options? Can you help me arrange that?
It’s critical that you take the time to ask all the questions that you have, and that you ask again if you’re not clear about the answer. Remember that your Evansville Surgical Associates’ breast navigator is there to help you ask for and understand all the information that’s available to you—and this includes making sure you feel completely informed about your surgery before, during, and after the procedure.
Breast Cancer Expertise
The surgeons and specially-trained staff at Evansville Surgical Associates treat all aspects of breast cancers as well as benign breast conditions at both the Deaconess Midtown and St. Vincent-Evansville Breast Centers. Our dedicated breast physicians include Dr. Joshua M. Aaron, Dr. Mallory S. Bray, Dr. Matthew S. Field, and Dr. Kristi K. Peck.
With the most advanced breast health techniques and treatments in digital mammography, diagnostic ultrasound, breast MRIs, and stereotactic and ultrasound guided needle biopsy capabilities, our breast surgeons and navigators work closely with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and plastic surgeons to ensure that each patient receives the best care possible.
Established in 1969, Evansville Surgical Associates celebrates 50 years of providing leading-edge comprehensive and compassionate surgical care. Learn more about our physicians and our practices by visiting our website, or by calling us at 812.424.8231 or 800.264.8231.