Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If a mammogram reveals a suspicious area in your breast, your doctor may refer you to a breast health specialist or a specialized breast center.

What you can do

Because appointments can be brief, and because there's often a lot of ground to cover, it's a good idea to be well prepared. To prepare for your appointment, try to:

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as restrict your diet.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins or supplements that you're taking.
  • Consider taking a family member or friend along. Sometimes it can be difficult to absorb all the information provided during an appointment. Someone who accompanies you may remember something that you missed or forgot.

Questions to ask

Your time with your doctor is limited, so prepare a list of questions ahead of time. List your questions from most important to least important in case time runs out. For atypical hyperplasia, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:

  • Can you explain my pathology report to me?
  • Do I need more tests?
  • Will I need surgery for atypical hyperplasia?
  • What treatments do you suggest?
  • What can I do to reduce my risk of breast cancer?
  • What signs or symptoms of breast cancer should I watch for?
  • How often should I have a mammogram to screen for breast cancer?
  • Should I also have an MRI to screen for breast cancer?
  • What would you recommend to a friend or family member in my situation?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Should I see a breast health specialist? What will that cost, and will my insurance cover it?
  • Should I consider genetic counseling?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take with me? What websites do you recommend?

In addition to the questions that you've prepared, don't hesitate to ask other questions that come to mind during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Your doctor is likely to ask you a number of questions. Being ready to answer them may allow more time later to cover other points you want to address. Your doctor may ask:

  • Do you have a family history of breast cancer?
  • Do you have a family history of other types of cancer?
  • Have you had a breast biopsy before? Do you know the results of previous breast biopsies?
Oct. 01, 2011

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