You may have had the experience of going to your doctor for a regular check-up, with some questions in mind, and when you got there your mind went completely blank or you thought your doctor was too busy to ask your questions.

This is not uncommon. Just going to the doctor can be stressful; plus there’s a lot going on with nurses telling you where to go and what to do – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or find yourself staying in listen-only mode.

One simple way to overcome this is taking a list of written questions with you to your appointment, and letting the staff know you want to be sure and cover some specific topics. Don’t be afraid to ask “beginner” questions, or any question! Your doctors and their staff nurses see hundreds of patients in a week and may assume you know something that you really don’t.

When it comes to breast health, here are some important questions to get you started – use this list, then add to it with your own questions, so you’ll be ready for your next appointment:

  • What breast cancer screening tests do you recommend for me?
  • Would I benefit from a mammogram or clinical breast exam?
  • What are the risks and benefits of breast cancer screening?
  • Am I at higher risk of breast cancer? How would I know? If so, do I need special screening tests or do I need to be screened more often? How will you estimate my risk?
  • How often should I be screened?
  • Which screening tests do you recommend?
  • If a problem is found, what will we do next?


Don’t be afraid to ask very specific questions. And if you don’t understand the answer, tell your doctor you don’t understand. You want to be crystal clear on your various options, and you don’t want to have to come home and rely on looking things up on the internet.  Your doctor knows you and her answer to you should be tailored to your unique situation.