Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Comprehensive Guide

Being diagnosed with breast cancer can be difficult and understanding all treatment options is overwhelming. Patients recently diagnosed or relapsed with breast cancer may be wondering what the right next step would be.

It doesn’t have to be done alone.

We’ve created an actionable guide that lays out the considerations when dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis to ensure no step is missed and to help manage the process.

Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Comprehensive Guide

Step 1: Understand Your Diagnosis

Understand Your Diagnosis

Ask the right questions:

  • Where is the cancer located?
  • Has the cancer spread from where it started?
  • What is the stage of my cancer? What does this mean?
  • What type of breast cancer do I have?
  • What is my prognosis?
  • What treatment do you recommend and why?
  • Should I get genetic testing?
  • Should I think about participating in a clinical trial?

Educating youself is essential. Here are some resources you can access to learn more about your cancer:

  • National Cancer Institute
  • American Cancer Society
  • Massive Bio Patient Resources

Step 2: Build A Cancer Care Team

Build A Cancer Care Team

You do not have to face your breast cancer diagnosis alone.

  • Family and friends: Help with child care, transportation, and house maintenance
  • Doctor and nursing staff: Your primary cancer care and treatment team
  • Genetic specialists: Find gene mutations and inherited cancer risk
  • Nutritionists: Manage diet before, during, and after cancer treatment
  • Therapists: Address the emotional effects of your diagnosis
  • Social workers: Help with discharge planning and finding home health care
  • Support or advocacy groups: Assist you with navigating the cancer landscape
Building Your Support System - Breast Cancer

Step 3: Get the Right Tests

Get the Right Tests

The common tests you should receive when diagnosed with breast cancer are a breast exam, mammogram, ultrasound, biopsy and MRI. In certain cases, additional tests are done to assist with staging, such as blood tests, bone scans, CT scans or PET scans. It is important to get the right tests to best decide your treatment options. Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) can help you determine your biomarker status, to assist in the selection of treatment.

Examples of biomarkers common in breast cancer that typically respond more effectively to targeted treatments:

  • FGFR
  • HER2
Get The Right Tests

Step 4: Understand All Your Treatment Options

Understand All Your Treatment Options

Standard of Care
  • The most commonly recommended treatment for breast cancer
Biomarker Status
  • Knowing your biomarker status can help determine the effectiveness of targeted therapy or other therapies
Clinical Trials
  • Cancer clinical trials are research studies used to improve treatments and quality of life for patients
Expanded Access
  • Access to investigational medical products or treatment outside of clinical trials in immediately life-threatening conditions
Understand All Your Treatment Options

Step 5: Understand Research Treatments

Understand Research Treatments

There are close to 1,000 breast cancer clinical trials recruiting in the United States. These trials are investigating new treatments and detection methods that could save lives in the future!

Participating in a clinical trial not only progresses much needed research, but gives patients access to these new innovative therapies years before the general population.

Understand ResearchTreatments - Breast Cancer

Step 6: Outline Your Treatment Options

Outline Your Treatment Options

Work with your cancer care team to build an actionable plan and understand all your treatment options and what success means for each. Be prepared with different treatment options if your plans do change.

Outline Your Treatment Options - Breast Cancer

Step 7: Take A Step Forward

Take A Step Forward

Take A Step Forward

Towards a positive outcome.

Be your own advocate and look for proactive options, such as clinical trials. Decide on a treatment plan and stay positive during your cancer journey. Know that there are resources and people around you who are willing to help.

Would you like to learn more?

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