Take Control of Your Breast Cancer Journey
Interacting With Your Healthcare Team
If you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer, become an active participant in your care. Proactively engage with your healthcare team to help make those critical decisions about your personal treatment plan.
The oncologist and nursing and support staff that make up your healthcare team are your advocates. They are valuable resources who can answer your questions about any aspect of your cancer diagnosis and treatment. The team will review your personal diagnosis with you to determine the right approach to your care.
It is important for you to have open discussions with your healthcare team and not be afraid to ask questions, no matter how minor or embarrassing you think they may be. Your healthcare team’s number one priority is your health and comfort throughout the treatment process. If you don't understand something, never hesitate to ask for an explanation. They will help you understand the unique elements of your diagnosis and explain what medications or procedures will be appropriate for your own individual needs.
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Dr. Marisa Weiss, physician, patient advocate and survivor sits down to discuss how taking an active role in your healthcare is more important than ever.
Understanding Your Treatment Options
A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming at first and will take some time to fully comprehend. Be sure to get a full review of your diagnosis with your doctor or schedule a second appointment to address the details of your disease in more detail. Do not be afraid to seek out a second opinion at any time. Second opinions are not only available but encouraged by most healthcare providers in the cancer field..
Be prepared for your appointments with questions and take notes or record audio from doctor’s visits. If you have a smartphone, try using the My Cancer Coach App to help manage this. Take the time to learn what you can about your disease and understand your options using reliable online resources such as Breastcancer.org and materials available from reputable healthcare organizations.
Breast cancer today can be a manageable condition. With new technologies, a variety of approaches are available for you to consider as you work with your healthcare team to plan your care. Treatment options will frequently include surgery to remove the tumor, along with other therapeutic options such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Patients diagnosed with very early stage cancer may not necessarily be recommended for chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is usually recommended if the cancer is present in the lymph nodes, since it can spread easily from there or if the patient is diagnosed with more aggressive types of breast cancer. Additional therapies may be considered as part of the treatment program to help further reduce the risk of a possible recurrence.
The goal is to ensure you have the best possible treatment experience with as few side effects as possible while giving you the best possible chance for long-term health.
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