Getting a breast cancer diagnosis is a moment in life unlike any other. It is shocking, usually terrifying, and often overwhelming. A lot of information gets thrown at you all at once. There’s uncertainty about the future. And, of course, there’s the battle of the disease.
After getting a breast cancer diagnosis, it’s very easy to feel scared and confused. That is entirely understandable. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the stress of this new diagnosis. We’ve put together a list of things to consider after receiving a breast cancer diagnosis:
1. Learn about your diagnosis.
Every cancer diagnosis is different. That’s why it’s important to know about your particular diagnosis. Stories from friends and family members who’ve had breast cancer can help to an extent, but it’s even more critical that you know your treatment options and the details of cancer you have. Knowing about your diagnosis will not only help you navigate the decisions you’ll need to make, but it will also help you feel more at ease about what to expect.
2. Find personal support.
Whether your support comes from a spouse, a best friend, or a parent, it’s helpful to have someone who knows you well enough to be another pair of ears when talking to the doctor. Someone to talk with during chemotherapy, or someone to sit with in the evenings when the going gets rough. This personal support might be someone obvious, or it might require asking a friend if he or she will be there for you during this critical time.
3. Talk to other patients.
While not every breast cancer patient finds it necessary to be part of a cancer support group, it often helps to share your particular struggles with other women (or men) undergoing these things. While your spouse, family, and friends will probably want to be there for you in any way they can, other cancer patients know the unique struggles that only cancer patients face. They’ll be able to listen, encourage, and understand your challenges in ways that can be very helpful during the treatment process.
4. Understand your insurance policy.
Your insurance policy should cover your breast cancer treatment. However, one of the biggest stresses during breast cancer is a financial strain. To alleviate your stress, be sure you understand your insurance coverage. Consider how you’re going to tell your employer about your diagnosis (link to that blog post here). And be willing to look for financial aid from nonprofits that help women with breast cancer.
5. Know there are reconstruction options.
The AiRS Foundation works hard to ensure every woman who’s received a mastectomy due to breast cancer has funds for reconstructive surgery. We know that reconstructive surgery is often a critical step toward feeling healed and whole. If you or someone you know has had a mastectomy as part of her treatment, we are there for you. Apply for a grant today or consider making a donation. We would love to hear from you.