Making a Breast Cancer Treatment Decision

Breast cancer is one of the most difficult experiences you can face; allow yourself time to gather information and support.

Breast cancer is one of the most difficult experiences you can face. While dealing with the emotional impact of having a life-threatening condition, you must also evaluate your treatment options and decide what to do. Fortunately, breast cancer usually does not require immediate treatment, allowing you to take time to gather information and support.

Preparing to Make a Decision

Many factors are considered when developing a treatment plan, including the type and stage of breast cancer, your age, your risk factors, your life situation, the size and shape of your breasts, and your feelings about your body.

Learn as much as you can about all your options before making a decision. Consult with your doctors and get all of your questions answered. You may want to bring someone with you to your visits who can help you remember and understand what your doctor is recommending.

If it’ll help you be more comfortable making a decision, seek a second opinion.

Following are some additional recommendations:

  • Don't take too much advice from well-meaning friends and family until you have the facts and treatment plan in place.
  • While you can find a lot of valuable information about breast cancer and treatments on the internet, make sure you get information about your particular situation from your doctors.
  • Talk to other women who have faced making the same decision.
Have a friend or family member go with you to doctors’ appointments to help you remember and understand your doctors’ recommendations.

After Making a Decision

Make sure you thoroughly understand what the treatment plan will entail so you can emotionally and physically prepare for what you are going to experience.

Take time to interview and consult with the treatment team of doctors. Get all your questions answered and don’t feel badly if you need your doctors to repeat information for you. Ask for written information so you can refer to it later.

Transporting Your Imaging Exam Results

Pick up your breast imaging films (e.g. mammograms, ultrasound) and reports to personally carry to your treatment planning appointments. It is much safer for you to take them than to depend on couriers and the mail.

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