Example list of questions (de-identified) - for illustration purposes only.

The question lists below may not be applicable to you depending on your specific situation.

Example 1

SITUATION
I was diagnosed with breast cancer in August and had surgery a month later, followed by radiation
I want to understand the following terms on the pathology report:
Moderately differentiated infiltrating carcinoma
surgical margins free of tumor – does that mean that there is none for 1/2 cm around edges?
I am currently on Arimidex.

CHOICES
Chemotherapy?
If I need chemotherapy, what are the options?
What does Dr. Smith recommend and why?
Neulasta along with chemotherapy?
Any further tests?

OBJECTIVES
For treatment
- Avoid side effects such as leukemia, heart issues, infections. I am concerned about dosage and getting large amounts all at once, as well as their long-term effects on my body.
- If I end up doing a brutal kind of chemotherapy, I want to get it on a Friday to recover so I can go back to work on Monday.
- Work occupies my mind, I want to continue working if I am to receive chemotherapy. I work with kids, I am concerned about my immune system getting weakened by chemotherapy.

For appointment
- I like being told the facts and details. I will analyze them and ask questions until I completely understand the answer.
- I want the rationale for needing chemotherapy before I decide to proceed.
- I like facts, numbers, charts.

PEOPLE
- Can I get Neulasta shots somewhere closer to home?  Are there any local oncologists Dr. Smith would recommend?
- I have a friend who will drive me up here on Fridays if necessary. My daughter is supportive.

EVALUATION
Why do they recommend taking Arimidex for only 5 years?
Is there a way to receive chemotherapy gradually over a longer period of time? I would prefer receiving chemotherapy this way, if I do need it.
Are infections due to a “jolt to system” from chemotherapy? Is gradual delivery as effective?
If I do need chemotherapy:
- I would like to understand the benefits vs. risks of chemotherapy.
- I would also like to learn about recovery and side effects of chemotherapy.

DECISIONS
I will decide whether I need chemotherapy based on my discussion with Dr. Smith.
I will decide within the next 24/48 hours. I will take into account my daughter’s opinion.

 

Example 2

SITUATION
I have been experiencing a lot of problems and pain over the last 5 years
- Specifically, with my left shoulder and right hip
The pain in my hip is more than the pain in my shoulder
- Last year the pain was throughout the muscles of both of my legs
- I no longer feel pain in the muscles of my legs, now it is only my hip
- The pain is better now than it was two months ago
- Why is this? Is this a good sign?
When I sit down for 5-15 minutes, I start to feel a lot of pain in my right hip and I need to stand up
But when I walk for 15-20 minutes, the pressure is too much and I have to lie down

CHOICES
Is surgery my only option?
Should I have my shoulder surgery or hip surgery done first?

OBJECTIVES
My first priority is to reduce the constant pain
Next, I want to be more active

PEOPLE
Dr. Williams said the surgery on my left shoulder should be done first so I will be able to better recover from the hip surgery later?
I want Dr. Johnson and Dr. Williams to give me advice about which surgery needs to be done first.
What is Dr. Johnson's recommendation?

EVALUATION
What is the procedural process leading up to surgery?
How long will the surgery take?
What will the surgery entail?
What is the technique used in the surgery?
How long is the recovery time from surgery?
Will I need someone to take care of me?

DECISIONS
Is there anyone else I need to see or materials I need to pick up before I leave here today?