You have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Now what? Hopefully, you will soon find that you have a medical team that is made up of your primary care physician and an oncologist who will begin a series of tests for you. Based upon those test results, a treatment plan will be outlined for you with a cancer surgeon being added to the team. And if your treatment includes even the possibility of breast reconstruction being done at some point, a plastic surgeon consultation should happen before anything else proceeds.
Regardless of the situation, there is help available and if you find that you are not getting it from your own team then it is time to find a new professional as a replacement. Barbara Jacoby
In addition to surgery, your treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation and/or hormone therapy and you most likely will want to know what to expect from these treatments. The most important thing to remember is that every single patient and their cancer is as unique as your fingerprint. For example, while my sister and I had the same type and stage of breast cancer, I had severe side effects from a generic brand of a particular hormone treatment prescription and was successfully able to eliminate those side effects by using the brand of that same drug while my sister had the exact opposite results. The brand of the drug with which I had success produced the same negative side effects for my sister as I had with the generic and completely cleared when she switched to that generic.
For many, the greatest fear comes with concern from the side effects of chemo and/or radiation. Therefore, I had to include some information that I found about things to know about chemo as well as another from a patient who shared things she wished she had known before chemo. I also found another article about radiation not being as bad as one fears for consideration.
It is completely natural to want to have as much information as you might want in order to be the best prepared and to be the most comfortable with the treatment program that has been outlined for you and you should make your medical team your first resource for that information. However, if you do not feel comfortable with what has been provided to you, a second opinion is highly recommended. And while the Internet and other breast cancer patients can be of great help in preparing for certain aspects of your treatment, these are not medical professionals who can apprise you of your own situation and any concerns and/or issues should always be directed to a professional.
Should you find that you are having problems in dealing with your fears or with handling any aspect of your treatment, you should immediately contact a professional. For many patients, having a mental health person to assist with dealing with a cancer diagnosis for yourself and even for members of your family may be absolutely perfect to help in dealing with this matter. No matter the issue from start to finish of treatment and beyond, you should always remember that you are not alone and that you are not the first patient to deal with any issue that you encounter. Regardless of the situation, there is help available and if you find that you are not getting it from your own team then it is time to find a new professional as a replacement. That is the true measure of a successful outcome for you and you should never settle for less. You deserve the best always.
Barbara Jacoby is an award winning blogger that has contributed her writings to multiple online publications that have touched readers worldwide.