Be Your Own Advocate: When the Diagnosis is Breast Cancer

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Hearing the words “you have breast cancer” can feel incredibly overwhelming. There is so much information to learn in order to make informed decisions about your care and the road ahead.

The questions below can help you gather information about your breast cancer so that you can make the right choices for you. By speaking with your doctor, and getting the facts on your breast cancer, you become an advocate for your breast health, taking control of the information you need to know, and how it will best guide you on this journey.

  • What kind of breast cancer do I have?
  • What is the stage of my breast cancer and what does that mean?
  • Were any tests done on my tumor? If so, what were the results? How do these results affect my treatment options?
  • What type of doctors should I see? When should I see them?
  • How can I get a copy of my pathology report?
  • Will my lymph nodes (located under the arm) be removed? Why?
  • What is a sentinel node biopsy? Will I have this done? How accurate is a sentinel lymph node biopsy? A sentinel lymph node biopsy is a procedure in which the sentinel lymph node is identified, removed, and examined to determine whether cancer cells are present.
  • What tests will I have before surgery to see if the cancer has spread to any other organs (liver, lungs, bones)? When will the tests be done?
  • What is my prognosis (chance for recovery from treatment)?
  • What are the chances that my cancer will come back — or that I will develop another type of cancer?
  • Where can I find a support group?

Take these questions with you when you speak to your doctor. You can print out a card of these questions here.

Here at Komen CSNJ, we are dedicated to ending breast cancer forever, and we are here for those that need guidance, support and help. Visit our website at for more information.

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Our mission is to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investing in breakthrough research to prevent & cure breast cancer.

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