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Topic: "What Should I Ask My Doctor?"

Forum: Not Diagnosed But Worried —

Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time. PLEASE DO NOT POST PICTURES OF YOUR SYMPTOMS. Comparing notes, symptoms, or characteristics is not helpful here, as only medical professionals can accurately evaluate and assess your individual situation.

Posted on: Nov 8, 2017 04:09AM

djmammo wrote:

I am hoping to kill more than one bird with this post.

Many posts ask this question. "I am going to see the ________ doctor, what questions should I ask?". Many other posts ask "I am reading the report of my imaging and I don't understand it". Also " These are my results and recommendations should I get a second opinion?" (this applies to diagnostic studies, not screening).

The best question to ask is when your PCP or OBGYN etc. orders an imaging study for your symptoms. Ask them "Will I be speaking to the radiologist afterwards and be given an explanation of my all findings and their significance before I leave their facility?". "Does the facility specialize in breast imaging?" If the answer is no, have them refer you to some other facility where they routinely do this. You should not be left to try to figure out what is going on from a report that uses language intended specifically for other medical professionals. If your doc doesn't know if a center offers this service then call and ask the center the same question. If the answer is no, find another center. There is no one better to explain your findings than the person who was there when you had your study and dictated the report.

The best way to find a breast imaging center that will explain your findings (at least in the USA) is here: https://www.mammographysaveslives.org/accredited-facility-search.aspx Look for an ACR Breast Imaging Center of Excellence if you can. They are held to higher standards/requirements than are other centers. The radiologists who staff these centers will more likely be those that have more interest and experience in reading breast studies. Believe me the majority of general radiologists I know would prefer never to read mammograms. Also you are more likely to have all the modalities read by the same radiologist which is also preferable.

They will explain your findings and what they recommend you do next. You can be more confident in their findings than at other centers and they will likely be able to explain the findings better than those who do not routinely do so. You may then not feel the need to second-guess your findings, have the written report reviewed or seek a second opinion. They can sometimes do an image guided biopsy the same day in a less invasive manner than having an open surgical biopsy and that saves time and has a better cosmetic result.

Board Certified Diagnostic Radiologist specializing in Breast Imaging. Contact me at DJMammo@gmail.com
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