Home » Uncategorized » What to do after you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer

What to do after you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer

breast cancerAs a nurse navigator for breast cancer patients, I connect with individuals just minutes after they are diagnosed. This is an emotional time and often I get asked, “What do I do now?”

Below are three suggestions I make to patients after they have been told they have breast cancer:

  • Utilize your Care Team

A lot of the time women turn to the World Wide Web for answers to their cancer questions. Yes, the Internet is a fast and convenient resource for information, but unfortunately, not everything online is reliable.

I encourage families to make a list of their concerns and questions to take to their Care Team.  Having questions ready to ask will help your team provide you with the information you need to feel secure in your treatment options.

Try not to compare breast cancer treatments with other breast cancer survivors. There are more than 15 different types of breast cancer, and each case may be treated differently. Hearing other peoples’ stories of cancer can just create more fear and confusion.

  • Understand your emotions

Being diagnosed with breast cancer is scary. It can be emotionally challenging dealing with the idea of cancer. Fear, anxiousness, anger, disappointment and feeling overwhelmed are all normal emotions to encounter after you are diagnosed.

Fear can have many physiological effects on your body and can waste needed energy. Take steps to decrease your level of fear by educating yourself on the type of cancer you have.

Keep in mind that most of the time you do not need to start breast cancer treatment right away. In most cases you have time (several weeks) to gather information, meet your providers and work through the emotions that come with the new diagnosis.

  • Communicate to your friends and family

When those closest to you learn you have breast cancer, it is natural for them to want to help.  However, multiple visits and increased phone calls about how you are doing can be overwhelming. When discussing your diagnosis, choose a close friend or family member that knows the details of your situation.

Utilizing technology to help communicate your steps of treatment can be very helpful.  Consider using an online website support program or sending frequent emails to keep your loved ones informed.

About Darci Grota, RN, BSN

Darci Grota is a breast cancer patient navigator at St. Elizabeth Hospital. She helps breast cancer patients throughout the diagnosis, treatment and recovery process, acting as a liaison between patients and the medical professionals they encounter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Disclaimer: The information found on Affinity's blog is a general educational aid. Do not rely on this information or treat it as a substitute for personal medical or health care advice, or for diagnosis or treatment. Always consult your physician or other qualified health care provider as soon as possible about any medical or health-related question and do not wait for a response from our experts before such consultation. If you have a medical emergency, seek medical attention immediately.

The Affinity Health System blog contains opinions and views created by community members. Affinity does endorse the contributions of community members. You should not assume the information posted by community members is accurate and you should never disregard or delay seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this site.