Knowledge is power. The more you know and understand about your breast cancer, the more empowered you will feel. One of the most important things you can do when you are diagnosed is to get to know the details about your breast cancer. Here are a few questions to ask your doctor:
How big is my breast cancer?
Is my breast cancer invasive or non-invasive?
Has my breast cancer spread to my lymph nodes?
What stage is my breast cancer?
What percentage of my breast cancer cells are reproducing into new cells?
What is the “grade” of cell growth of my breast cancer
What is the hormone receptor status of my breast cancer?
If I am ER-positive, what proportion of my cancer cells have estrogen receptors? (If your doctor simply tells you that you are ER-positive and does not supply a number, be sure to ask for it. The number of estrogen receptors is an important part of the characteristics of breast cancers. Most of the time, breast cancers with a high number of estrogen receptors tend to respond better to anti-estrogen therapy. If your breast cancer does not test positive for hormone receptors, do not be discouraged. There are many effective treatments available for ER-negative and PR-negative breast cancers.)
Do my breast cancer cells have a normal number of chromosomes?
Is my breast cancer caused by oncogene overexpression?
Does my breast tumor have positive or negative margins?
What is the HER-2 status of my breast cancer?
What options for treating my breast cancer are available?