Managing metastatic breast cancer as the first diagnosis
Hearing you have breast cancer is difficult news, but your emotions may be intensified when you learn that it has metastasized, or spread to areas of the body outside the breast or nearby lymph nodes.
Along with the shock of diagnosis, you are given a great deal of unfamiliar medical information. Knowing as much as you can about your situation may empower you.
These suggestions can help you feel and have more control:
- Take notes during all your appointments.
- When you have your first meeting with your doctors, consider bringing someone with you—a trusted, reliable friend or family member—who can take notes or record what you discuss.
- Review the important information you’ll receive at times when you feel calm.
- Keep a running list of all medicines you take, tests you have and symptoms and side effects you experience.
- It may be useful to keep this information in a journal, notebook or file, for easier reference.
- Your personal notes or journal may help you remember questions you have for your doctors and other support providers. Keeping a journal also may provide an outlet for anxiety.
- Record conversations with your doctor rather than take notes, if you prefer. Let your provider know ahead of time you wish to record.
- Search online for information about metastatic breast cancer. Your doctors might recommend resources to you.
- Be aware of how reading online material makes you feel. If it causes more anxiety or stress, you may want to stop reading or ask someone you trust to do research for you.
It’s common to become overwhelmed by the amount of information available and the differences between sources. As you find resources that you trust, make a list for future use.