In my last post I shared my response to a reader who was upset by the media reports of a new study. The commenter expressed ambivalence about discussing it with her physicians: "I don't know if it would be healthy or not to ask my doctors...if [knowing what we know today] I would have been spared this surgery."
As for bringing it up with your oncologist, you have to ask yourself if this conversation will help you or hurt you in your efforts to be a Healthy Survivor. Will the conversation overall help you get good care and live as fully as possible? Or hurt?
For sure, your oncologist can’t undo what’s been done. So ask yourself, are you looking for an explanation? An apology?
Please keep in mind that how you ask about the study will affect how your oncologist answers. My suggestion is to take the high road, for example: “I know that everything has been done with my best interests in mind, and I’m grateful for my care. For my peace of mind, I was curious why the decision was made to do the axillary dissection with removal of so many lymph nodes.”
Since Healthy Survivorship depends on sound knowledge, and since your physicians are your primary source of information about the particulars of your medical situation, don't hesitate to ask questions related to your health. Just remember that mutually respectful and trusting relationships with your physicians are essential elements of Healthy Survivorship, too.