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Dealing with Your Healthcare Team

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Updated April 29, 2009

You've gotten the results from your biopsy and now you know your diagnosis: breast cancer. Call in the troops, dial up your survivor friends, and look for local support. You will need an elite task force to fight this disease -– people with specialized skills and experience, empathy, good listening skills, and lots of resources.

Find The Best Medical Care:

Breast cancer can be treated with a variety of methods -– surgery, drugs, and radiation. You'll need the services of specialists in each field, but someone must be in charge of coordinating your medical care. You may do this yourself, or you may need a family doctor or oncologist to manage your treatment. Choose your doctor and team members carefully, as you will be working with them to fight your cancer and maintain a good quality of life.

Shopping Around and Moving On:

Sometimes you need a second opinion, or you find that your doctor isn't working out quite as well as you had hoped. Communication problems may arise, personality differences may cause stress, or you may move away from your first clinic.

Working With Your Healthcare Team:

At its best, the process of treating cancer is a coordinated effort. Team members share information in a timely and open manner, and you are treated with respect and compassion. You can help make this a positive experience by understanding how the team functions and by working with them.

Be a Proactive Patient:

In 1974, Betty Ford broke the silence barrier that had cloaked breast cancer, and opened the door to public discussion of the disease as well as its prevention and treatment. Since then, patients have taken a more active part in decisions affecting their own health care. You can help yourself get the best medical care by learning about your diagnosis, options for treatment, and the specialists that will work with you to fight your cancer.
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