Statistics show that one out of eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. If detected early, the five-year survival rate is more than 92 percent. Talking to your doctor about breast cancer may not rank high on your New Year’s resolution list, but it’s a discussion that could save your life.
As anyone who has ever visited an MD knows—they are extraordinarily busy people. That’s why it’s important to arrive at your appointment prepared. We took care of the legwork to provide you with the four most important questions to ask your doctor about breast cancer.
- What are my risk factors for breast cancer?
In order for you doctor to properly answer this question, make sure to provide her with a detailed family history. For example, if your mother had breast cancer, let her know.
- What are your recommendations for screening and prevention, based on my personal risk?
The American Cancer Society recommends yearly screening mammograms once you turn 45. However, your doctor will provide a personalized assessment based on your family history and relevant risk factors.
- What can I do to prevent breast cancer?
There is no surefire way to prevent cancer. That said, avoiding alcohol and smoking, maintaining a healthy BMI, exercising, and eating right can lower your risk. Be honest with your physician about any bad habits, such as smoking, so she can identify risk factors, and help you make appropriate changes.
- What are the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
Practicing breast self-awareness—knowing what’s normal for your body—is essential for breast cancer prevention. If you notice anything abnormal—lumps, bumps, swelling, discharge, etc.—tell your doctor.