Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Decisions
Fight or flight – it’s human nature, and wanting to fight, to do something, anything, right away is natural. It’s critical to remember, though, that you do have time. You have time to pull yourself together as best you can, and you have time to get every single one of your questions answered. If you’re the type of person that needs to read and research the situation, it’s important to make that your number one priority. If you’re more comfortable talking with your doctor in person or on the phone, ask that he or she give you whatever amount of time you need.
Getting a second opinion, both as to your pathology findings and your treatment options, goes a long way toward achieving some peace of mind about the choices you make. Many doctors encourage their patients to get second opinions and support them in the process. If your doctor balks at the thought of your getting a second opinion, or if you do not feel comfortable talking about your questions and concerns with your doctor, it’s time to find another surgeon. Standing up to “authority” like this might be the scariest thing you’ve ever done, but you will find out that you’re stronger than you think!
One of the biggest questions many women face is whether to choose lumpectomy and radiation or mastectomy. For some, the decision comes easily. Some people feel strongly that mastectomy is best. Others feel equally positive that a lumpectomy is best and a mastectomy is out of the question unless it is the only alternative. If you choose a mastectomy, then whether or not to have reconstruction is the next big decision that needs to be made. Then, what type of reconstruction is best for me, and where do I find a plastic surgeon to do it? The questions never stop coming, and we owe it to ourselves to take the time and learn as much as we can so as to make the best decision in light of the facts.
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