In order to maximize your time with your providers, bring your questions with you in writing to your appointments. Ask for copies of your test results and keep a notebook of all these results. Keep a list of questions that arise between visits so you don’t forget, and take notes of the answers. Above all, make informed decisions; learn as much as you can about your diagnosis and treatment.
2. Spend time choosing your doctor.
Breast cancer specialists who work at dedicated cancer centers offer specific expertise as well as access to the latest treatments that are part of clinical studies. Such centers can provide other specialty services, usually under one roof, such as physical therapy, nutrition and social work.
3. Get the support you need for talking about your diagnosis.
Breaking the news to your friends and family that you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer can be just as difficult as first hearing the news yourself from your doctor. You may feel concerned about upsetting your family and friends or worried about how they will react. Even after you have shared the news, at times you may find it difficult to communicate openly. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable to ask for help, answer questions about how you’re doing, or tell well-meaning relatives and friends that you need some time and space for yourself. If available at your hospital, request to meet with a social worker to discuss any emotional support or resource referrals you might need. A local support group for women with breast cancer may also help considerably. Ask your hospital or clinic to help you identify appropriate resources in your area.