What to consider when discussing your treatment with your breast care team

When you are diagnosed with breast cancer, a member of your breast care team and your breast care nurse will meet you to discuss their recommendations for your treatment.

They will talk you through any choices you might need to make about your care, and they should give you enough time, information and support to make these decisions.

They should also ask about your personal circumstances and preferences, as these are also very important in helping to determine the treatments that will help you to have the best quality of life now and in the future.

However, if you’d rather not be involved in making decisions about your treatment, you don’t have to be.

Tips for hospital appointments

You can choose the amount of information you are given. If you feel distressed and anxious, you may find it difficult to take everything in. Let your doctor or nurse know what you’d like to know or when you have had enough information for the moment. If you don’t understand something you are told, ask for an explanation, and keep asking until you are sure you understand. It’s fine to ask questions and to ask for more support.

You might find it useful to:

  • Ask for a written record of your results or leaflets that you can take away and look at later
  • Ask for a second appointment to discuss the information when you feel calmer •
  • Take audio recording equipment into your appointment to record your consultation (some hospitals may provide this), or a pen and paper to take notes
  • Take a family member or friend with you, so they can help you remember the questions you want to ask and what has been said
  • Write down any questions that you think of later and take them with you to your next appointment

It’s a good idea to visit your GP soon after you have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Your GP can help guide you through your treatment and provide you with additional information and support.

More information

Visit our publications page to order print copies or download our breast cancer treatment guides for free.

For practical and emotional support you can contact Breast Cancer Care (0808 800 6000) or Macmillan Cancer Support (0808 800 0000).

If you live in Wales, you can also contact Tenovus Cancer Care (0808 800 1010) for support.

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Information last reviewed: 21 August 2013

Next review due: August 2016

This information is currently being reviewed and will be updated by December 2017.

Breast Cancer Now's health information is covered by NHS England's Information Standard quality mark. Find out more.

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