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Home What is Breast Cancer Diagnosis I was just diagnosed with breast cancer... now what?

I was just diagnosed with breast cancer... now what?

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First, and most importantly, try to find ways to manage your stress and anxiety.  There are simple things you can do that may help you through a very stressful time.

  • Get to know everyone on the medical team who will be taking care of you.  By getting to know people early on, you will learn which individuals are the easiest for you to talk to, who answers questions in a way that you understand, and who is the most available. Having different people who you can go to for support and guidance within your medical team can help a great deal throughout this often difficult time.
  • Find a physician who you feel is able to answer your questions to your satisfaction and gives you as much or as little information as you want.
  • Before the end of each appointment, make sure to establish with your physician when and how you will be receiving any test results.  Often if you are able to schedule tests in the beginning of the week, you are more likely to get the results back sooner as you do not have to wait over the weekend when there are less staff in the lab and clinic.
  • Ask your physician if there are tests or labwork you can have done prior to your next appointment. If you have the testing done before you see your clinic visit, you can go over your results and have your regular visit at the same time. This way you can often get answers sooner, and in person.
  • As hard as it is, you and your physician will need to wait for all the information before decisions such as treatment options are made.   Unfortunately, some tests take longer than others, and some different types of tests are done in different labs. While patience is a virtue, it can be very difficult at this time. Just remember, the more information you have, the easier it will be to make the best decision regarding treatment options.
  • If you have questions, ask your physician. Sometimes it is helpful to write down questions as you remember them at home, and bring in this list questions to your clinic visits. Some patients' like to keep a notebook with all of the information they receive at clinic visits, from lab reports, and other conversations they have with health care providers. It is also a good way to keep track of the names and contact information of the different physicians you are seeing.  This may be a good place to keep your list of questions.

Shikha Jain, MD