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Home > Comman Type of Cancer > Planning Breast Cancer treatments

Planning Breast Cancer treatments

treatments Plan

Many women with breast cancer want to take an active part in decisions about their medical care. They want to learn all they can about their disease and their choices of breast cancer treatments. However, the shock and stress that people often feel after a diagnosis of cancer can make it hard for them to think of everything they want to ask the doctor. Often it is helpful to prepare a list of questions in advance. To help remember what the doctor says, patients may take notes or ask whether they may use a tape recorder. Some people also want to have a family member or friend with them when they talk to the doctor -- to take part in the discussion, to take notes, or just to listen.

The patient's doctor may refer her to doctors who specialize in breast cancer treatments, or she may ask for a referral. breast cancer treatments generally begin within a few weeks after the diagnosis. There will be time for the woman to talk with the doctor about her treatment choices, to get a second opinion, and to prepare herself and her loved ones.

Second Opinion

Before starting breast cancer treatments, the patient might want a second opinion about the diagnosis and the treatment plan. Some insurance companies require a second opinion; others may cover a second opinion if the woman requests it. It may take a little while to arrange to see another doctor. In most cases, a brief delay (up to 3 or 4 weeks) between biopsy and treatment does not make breast cancer treatments any less effective. There are a number of ways to find a doctor for a second opinion:
  • The patient's doctor may refer her to one or more specialists. Specialists who treat women with breast cancer include surgeons, medical oncologists, plastic surgeons, and radiation oncologists. At cancer centers or special centers for breast diseases, these doctors often work together as a team.

  • The Cancer Information Service, at 1-800-4-CANCER, can tell callers about treatment facilities, including cancer centers and other NCI-supported programs, in their area.

  • Patients can get the names of specialists from their local medical society, a nearby hospital, or a medical school.

  • The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists lists doctors' names along with their speciality and their educational background. This resource, produced by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), is available in most public libraries.

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