How to Be Your Own Advocate in Your Breast Cancer Journey

When a doctor tells you that you have breast cancer, your world changes. After the shock diminishes, find the strength to be your own best advocate. Now's the time to gather all your internal resources and use them to save your life. Check out this advice from others who have blazed the trail before you: Research Your Options After you’ve had a chance to digest your situation, it’s time to get out a tablet or pad of paper. You don’t have to be a wordsmith or have perfect spelling. Just gather and record your questions and keep asking them until you understand the answers. Get someone to come to your appointments with you so they can take notes and research terms and treatment options. Take this project on like it’s the most important thing you’ve ever done. MORE: How to get a good night's sleep after a breast cancer diagnosis Get a Second Opinion After your doctor tells you that you have cancer, get another doctor. You need a second opinion. Cancer is a complicated, serious disease, and you have to be sure you’re getting the best treatment possible. Insist on a second opinion no matter what. Find a Doctor You Trust Cancer treatment is a marathon, and you’ll be spending a lot of time with your care team. It’s critical that you trust your doctor’s expertise and your team’s ability to give you the best chances for a positive outcome. If you feel ambiguous about your physician, make a change. MORE: How to manage cancer treatment's effects on fingernails Commit to a Plan Once you’ve decided on a plan of action, do your part. That means showing up for every appointment, reporting side effects, and paying close attention to changes in your health — both mental and physical. Follow your doctor’s recommendations and use common
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