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What Questions Should Breast Cancer Patients Ask About Their Treatment Options?

What Questions Should Breast Cancer Patients Ask About Their Treatment
from Patient Empowerment Network on Vimeo.

What do breast cancer patients need to know about treatment options? Expert Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy shares key questions that patients should ask their team about potential treatment approaches.

Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramaswamy is the Section Chief of Breast Medical Oncology and the Director of the Medical Oncology Fellowship Program in Breast Cancer at The Ohio State College of Medicine. Learn more about this expert here.

See More from Thrive Breast Cancer

Related Resources:

Why Should Breast Cancer Patients Engage in Care Decisions?

How Is Metastatic Breast Cancer Treated?

What Are the Treatment Options for Early Stage Breast Cancer?



What questions should patients ask about their treatment options?

Dr. Waks:

I think the most important thing is to understand what you have first. So, kind of the doctor will talk to you about what type, histological type of breast cancer you have. They’ll also talk to you about what  biomarkers you have. And they will also talk to you  about the treatment options, which could be   chemotherapy versus target therapies, and what are the outcomes from those using clinical trials. So, I think the questions that you have to ask them is that,  what do you feel like you would is right for your body, right? That’s important. That what you have some of the preconceived notions that we all carry. That bias and preconceived notions is just a normal natural way of learning. And so ask about those fears, ask about those hopes that you have. And if your hope is, “Hey, can I do as well without chemotherapy?” Ask that question. So, and it’s important to understand the side effects and the outcomes of each therapy.

It may also be important for you if you do – you really don’t want to have treatments to understand if   you don’t get treatment, what are your outcome changes? So, those are, I think, the important thing. And then what that does mean to you? What do you want out of your life? Longevity, quality of life? How long will your quality of life be affected? And how does that impact your understanding of what you want out of your life? I think those are important for you to ask and make sure you have a friend or a relative with you so that not everything is going to go in at the first or the second visit, so you have someone else who’s taking notes.