What should I ask

Posted on behalf of new user linda

Louise, Moderator


I have just been diagnosed with breast cancer, (last Thursday) I have been told I need the lump removing scheduled for Wed 28th Nov. I have been started on tamoxifen 20mg daily. I have been told I will need radiotherapy and possibly chemo, and that is all I know. I dont know the grade or anything, I was so stunned when I found out that I did not know what to ask or anything, the only question I did ask was, - is it terminal?

Please can someone tell me the questions I should ask?

sorry if this does not make sense, I am still in shock


Authorlizziecee CommentTime17 minutes ago
Hi Linda
I would presume as you have had a diagnosis of breast cancer, you have had a biopsy?
Ask for a copy of the pathology report, which will give you some information. You need to know, amongst other things:
Hormone status - ER,PR and HER2. If you are ER/PR positive you will be prescribed anti-oestrogen drugs, tamoxifen if pre-menopausal, Arimidex or another aromatose inhibitor if post menopausal. If HER2+, Herceptin.

Ask what type of cancer do you have? it could be DCIS, (ductal carcinoma in situ), invasive ductal, LCIS, invasive lobular,or inflammatory (very rare). You will also in time, perhaps after the surgery and pathology results on the tumour tissue, want to ask what size, stage and grade the tumour is.

I would be interested to learn what your surgeon’s response was to your question: “Is it terminal?” Neither us patients nor our doctors can give a definitive answer to this question as breast cancer comes in many different forms, some tumours are aggressive, others not. I am almost 5 years from diagnosis with no sign of recurrence. Others on this forum have lived many years longer than I from dx.

You don’t say what type of surgery you are having - is it a wide local excision (lumpectomy|) or a mastectomy? If it is one of these your surgeon will probably sample your lymph nodes with a sentinel biopsy to see if the cancer has spread.

Please let us know if we can help further - breast cancer seems to have a language all of its’ own, and I was totally bewildered by my first pathology report. The ladies on here helped me figure the terms out, and google is also a great research tool.

Good luck with your surgery.


AuthorFruitcake1 CommentTime11 minutes ago
hi Linda ,
We all understand how you feel, WE have all gone through these feelings ,when your first told ,you think you are on your own,Well
your not ,You will always find someone on this site to help you ,we are all here for you , we all help each other,
The waiting times are the worst, Once your treatment is sorted ,you will feel alot better,try not to worry,
We are here for you

love june

Liz and June thanks for your replies its good to know there are people out there who understand how I am feeling

Liz the surgeons response “is it terminal?” was no it was definitely not terminal.
I am having a lumpectomy and some of the surrounding tissue removed. Apparently one lymph node is enlarged and they are removing some of those too, after putting a die in to see if any more are affected.

Thanks again

Hi Lindsyloo,

You are in very good company on this site - you will no doubt hear from loads of other ladies who have been through the same thing.

I had a lumpectomy on September 25th and a second op to remove further “tissue” and get a wider margin on October 9th - I wasn’t given Tamoxifen until October 20th - now I’m waiting for my first radiotherapy ‘planning’ meeting tomorrow.

I’m also going ‘stir crazy’ from being at home - would love to get back to work but it’s not possible yet - my work involves large groups of children and quite a bit of heavy lifting - although my scars are healed well I’m not quite up to heavy lifting yet.

Never mind, Christmas is just around the corner.

Good Luck
Best wishes
Maddy xxxxx

As everyone has said waiting is worse part, I was as I have said told last Thursday that I have BC and I feel as though it was weeks even months ago, I think I would have rather they taken this blessed thing out of my breast the following day, but the surgeon said I had to have 2 weeks of Tamoxifen 1st. I still dont know anything else about apart from needing the lumpectomy and radiotherapy. Not knowing is horrid. I went to see my GP today, and the hospital have not even informed him of the diagnosis, so he was as much use as a chocolate firegaurd, maybe I am just being impatient. (sorry Dr.)

The good thing to come from all this is that I have Christams day off, which I was supposed to have been working, and both my kids are coming from Spain to spend it with us, so its not all bad.