According to the American Cancer Society, there are more than 3.1 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. This includes women still being treated and those who have completed treatment. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month and Mercy Health would like to provide some tips for those who have been diagnosed, for survivors and their friends and families.
Getting the news that you or a loved one has breast cancer can be overwhelming and a diagnosis will most likely result in many questions. It’s important for you to be able to talk frankly and openly with your cancer care team. They want to answer all of your questions, no matter how minor they might seem to you. But it helps if you know what to ask. Click on this link to see some excellent questions the American Cancer Society suggests that you can use to help you better understand breast cancer and your options. Don’t be afraid to take notes and tell the doctors or nurses when you don’t understand what they’re saying.
The questions are grouped by where you are in the process of cancer treatment. Not all of these questions will apply to you, but they should help get you started. The groupings are as follows:
- When you’re told you have breast cancer
- When deciding on a treatment plan
- Before treatment
- During treatment
- After treatment
Take care of your Spiritual Health. Consider joining a support group for people with breast cancer. Keep a journal, express your feelings and thoughts artistically and get appropriate exercise.
As you know, having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in Family Medicine, Internal Medicine or General Practice. If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.
When you’re being treated for a disease or condition, it may not always be easy to decide where to go for care. For anything that is considered a life-threatening situation (like chest pain or sudden and severe pain) it’s best to go to the emergency room. For less severe matters that still require immediate attention, if you can’t get in to see your PCP, going to an urgent care facility can save you time and money.
Even if you require emergency or urgent care for your health situation, it’s always best to have a relationship with a PCP who knows your history and understands what is happening with your health over time.
Also, your health plan has a team of care managers ready to assist you. When a nurse calls you, please be sure to return the call and speak with them. Wonderful care management resources are available to you.
Mercy Health is committed to providing resources that promote well-being though body, mind and spirit and is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life.