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.
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
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:
Step 4: Understand All Your Treatment Options
Understand All Your Treatment Options
- The most commonly recommended treatment for breast cancer
- Knowing your biomarker status can help determine the effectiveness of targeted therapy or other therapies
- Cancer clinical trials are research studies used to improve treatments and quality of life for patients
- Access to investigational medical products or treatment outside of clinical trials in immediately life-threatening conditions
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.
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.
Step 7: 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.
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Interested in Breast Cancer Clinical Trials?
Massive Bio is 4x more successful in finding cancer clinical trial matches for patients than any other service provider. Partner with our patient advocates to learn how you can access breast cancer clinical trials matched to your unique cancer.