Questions to ask oncologist


Diagnosed with primary in May this year, secondary in lungs in June. Finished 6 cycles of FEC 6 weeks ago, had a scan midway that showed tumours in lungs shrunk from 6mm to 2mm which onc said was a really good result, haven’t had a scan since. Did ask how many tumours I had but he said they hadn’t counted (guess this means there are quite a few!!). Lump in breast was 5cm but chemo seems to have blasted it as can no longer feel it, was told early on that unlikely to have surgery. Seeing the oncologist next week to discuss what happens next. I am triple negative. I wondered if anyone had any advice as to the questions to ask next week, determined to write my questions down and be a bit more organised. I’m 44 with two young children so determined to stay around for as long as possible!

Advice welcome, Abi x

Hi Abi
It is great that your tumours have shrunk. If they are still there, however, you will need more treatment.
I would want a PET CT scan if I was you to get a clear picture of what is still there. Is radiotherapy an option for you? If yes, great. If not, further chemo? Triple negative does not benefit from hormone therapy, and many of us with tumours that are still in situ move onto another chemo with regular scans to ensure it is working. I think I would also want a breast lump removed if it was still there, so would ask why surgery is not being considered. You may also want to ask if you should be tested for the BRCA genes. Is there any history of breast cancer in your family? So, some to start you off and I’m sure others will add some. All the best for your meeting, Bumpkin

Thankyou both for replying. I have seen recent posts re surgery to primary and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer will definitely quiz onc as to why it is not right for me, will also make sure he books me for another scan. Think I also need to find out where these lung tumours are, scattered across lungs/clumped together as I guess this will make a difference as to whether radiotherapy is offered?

I am getting a bit uptight about this next appointment, not sure why as there won’t be any test results to discuss, maybe because now I’ve finished chemo and feel really well I can almost put my diagnosis to the back of my mind and just enjoy my life.

Thanks again for replying, really kind.


Hi Abi

Reading your post, this is the same as me. I was diagnosed with invasive ductal breast cancer Stage 3, Waited 13 weeks for a mammogram after my first appointment because cancer specialist said it wasn’t cancer just inflammation.

I have secondary in the lungs now ,which they say are very small. My cancer in the breast was first measured as 45mm and has shrunk considerably ,i’m just waiting for a Pet Scan to see how its going. Just finished my last Fec-t last week had 6. I am 48 with 4 grown up children, Well my youngest, my daughter is 20. I have 5 grandchildren. I consider myself lucky i can spend some guality time with them. But this last chemo really knocked me for six. I split from my husband of 30 years back in April 2014,so had a tough 6 months. 

Getting back to your question, i never no what to ask the Oncologist specially after a scan or test. I wasn’t expecting to be told my cancer had spread,i just thought i’m strong i have a great support network from friends and family i beat this. I feel not so sure now. But i’m sure we will all have doubts and bad and good days. 

Like you i am determined to stay around as long as possible. I think we just need to talk out and fight our corner, don’t be fobbed off by anyone make sure they offer you more treatment and ask the side affects. If they will let you ask to record the meeting. This helps you go back over what they have said as you cant take it all in at once. Good LUCK X And keep fighting.  Dawn  xx