Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be both scary and overwhelming. Individuals who are affected may have many questions ─ but don’t be afraid to ask them.
Here are some questions to ask a doctor:
- What kind of breast cancer do I have?
- What is the stage of my breast cancer and what does it mean?
- What type of doctors should I see? When should I see them?
- What is my possible treatment plan? What should I expect?
There are different types of cancer treatment based on how they work and when they are used. Your doctor will talk with you first before choosing the one that is best for you.
Surgery is often the first treatment given for breast cancer. Either the cancer lump or the whole breast will be removed. Sometimes, lymph nodes may also be removed to check if the cancer has spread. Once the cancer is removed, you have the option to bring back your breast’s shape.
Chemotherapy uses specific drugs to target your cancer. It is often used after surgery to prevent the cancer from coming back. It can be given as an injection or as pills you can take at home or intravenously at the hospital.
Hormone therapy slows or stops cancers that use hormones to grow. Most hormone therapy medicines can be taken as pills.
Radiation therapy uses radiation to treat cancer. If you’ve ever had an x-ray, you’ve had radiation. For cancer treatments, the radiation dose is much higher.
Targeted therapy uses drugs or other substances to find and attack the cancer.
Complementary medicines are other ways that can help relieve breast cancer symptoms and side effects from treatment. Please speak with your doctor first before using complementary medicines.
After receiving treatment, it is important to follow up with your doctor to prevent breast cancer from returning. Depending on your age, your doctor may also ask you to get additional screenings to find out if you are at risk for uterine, ovarian, and colorectal cancers.
The Charles B. Wang Community Health Center offers comprehensive, high quality primary care services at convenient locations in Manhattan and Queens. The Health Center is open seven days a week and serves all patients regardless of their ability to pay. To learn more about the Health Center’s family planning services, please call (212) 966-0228 (Manhattan), (718) 886-1287 (37th Avenue, Queens) and (929) 362-3006 (45th Avenue, Queens), or by visiting our OB/GYN webpage.
Written by Jin Yao Li
Jin Yao Li is a Health Educator in the OB/GYN Department at Charles B. Wang Community Health Center. One of her current roles is providing one-on-one family planning and reproductive health education. She graduated from Binghamton University with a double major in Integrative neuroscience and philosophy. She is also a Certified Lactation Counselor and is passionate about providing education to individuals and families.