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So, you found out you have breast cancer. While there are many considerations and plans to make to start treatment, there are steps you should take right away. Remember that you’re not alone—around 12 percent of women in the U.S. will develop invasive breast cancer throughout her lifetime, according to breastcancer.org. And for men, their lifetime risk is about 1 in 883.
These tips will help you communicate your diagnosis, check all your boxes, and find the support you’ll need to get through the days to come.
When you’ve had a chance to process your breast cancer diagnosis, it’s time to sit down and tell your family and friends. Remember that they’ll have a lot of questions, to be prepared to provide all the information you have upfront just so they know you don’t have all the answers.
Some loved ones may become emotional. Remember it’s ok to let yourself be vulnerable to find the support you need from your friends and family members. But let them know that you have a practical, hopeful mindset to face your treatments and whatever else ahead.
It’s too easy to start Googling after you’ve had a diagnosis. You’ll want to look up statistics for recovery and other people’s experiences. While it can be comforting to hear other breast cancer survivor stories or to connect with online communities, don’t go down a dark internet spiral. This will just make you obsess about what will happen to you and can cause unnecessary anxiety and depression.
If you have a question, ask your doctor for resources you can turn to while you’re grappling with the bad news. They’ll be able to point you in the right direction to find valuable, accurate information.
Finding a community is a great way to stay supported and maintain a positive outlook. Find groups of people in your area or online who are also trying to manage a breast cancer diagnosis. You may be surprised how many people within your own network have gone through it or have had a person close to them go through it.
Discussing your emotions, physical symptoms, and uncertainties with others battling breast cancer will help you find some sort of relief and comfort. And, you’ll recognize that you’re not alone.
It’s always a good idea to get a second, or even a third, opinion after a diagnosis. Doctors and nurses are humans who sometimes make mistakes. Trust your gut if you think something’s not right. Sometimes you’ll be able to grasp more information about your condition when you have two doctors providing a diagnosis.
When searching for a new doctor, you can conduct a free background report online to see if they have had any previous issues. Ask for referrals from family and friends. Read online reviews and testimonials.
Once you and your doctor know what your treatment plan looks like, you’ll need to consider how you’ll get breast cancer financial support. Your health should be your first priority, so make sure your financial concerns are addressed from the beginning.
There are many organizations that provide support to breast cancer patients, including the American Cancer Society and American Life Fund.
Try to find hope after a breast cancer diagnosis. Hundreds of thousands of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020, according to breastcancer.org, so you’re not alone. Find a supportive community, get a second opinion, don’t do too much Googling, and find the financial support you need to make it through the long months to come.