Surgeons are required to adhere to the patient- centered principle of informed consent. Although this is often treated as a formality, it’s not something to take for granted or lightly. Your surgeon is required to explain the procedure to you and then ask if you fully understand what’s going to happen during the surgery. According to the American College of Surgeons, this is your cue to get curious. Of course, not every woman craves details about being under the knife, but you should know some basic facts.
In addition to the name of the surgery, you’ll want to know where the surgeon will make incisions and how much tissue will be removed. Another important discussion is to understand if the surgeon plans to remove any of your lymph nodes and how many. If your surgeon doesn’t volunteer this information, ask, “Do I need my lymph nodes removed? If so, how many? Why?” Sometimes, a few lymph nodes are taken to check for more cancer, a procedure known as lymph node sampling, and other times all the lymph nodes under the armpit are removed. This is known as axillary clearance.
Find out more about this book:The 10 Best Questions for Surviving Breast Cancer: The Script You Need to Take Control of Your Health