Getting diagnosed with breast cancer is a difficult piece of news for anyone to hear. However, on a slightly positive note, there have been tremendous advancements made in terms of breast cancer treatment in the past few years.
So, the diagnosis does not have to be terribly grim, especially if it is caught in the earlier stages. If you have recently received word from your doctor that you have breast cancer, you might be wondering what your options for treatment are. The following information in this brief primer should help you in this regard.
Surgery to Remove Cancerous Tissue
First off, you need to discuss with your doctor what your options for treatment could be; this will largely depend on which stage breast cancer you have. Your physician will probably refer you to a specialist who will help make the call. However, the main option is usually to have a mastectomy, which many people undergo, even those who have a genetic predisposition for breast cancer opt for a mastectomy as a preventative measure. If this is recommended by your doctor, then it would be best to call your insurance provider and see what insurance coverage for mastectomy would be like, as the surgery can sometimes be technically defined as an “elective.” There are other surgeries that could be considered as well, depending on the size of the tumor, and other health issues you could be facing. For example, a lumpectomy can be recommended if you are still in the early stages, and doctors are able to ascertain that the tumor is small and manageable enough to remove without removing the entire breast.
If you end up having surgery as part of the treatment plan recommended by your doctors, then you can choose reconstruction surgery to help rebuild the shape of your breasts afterward. There are different types of reconstructive surgeries, and your doctor should be able to walk you through the process and what to expect from the surgery. During reconstruction – which can be done months after the tumor or abnormal tissue has been removed – a plastic surgeon works to create the breast shape utilizing an artificial implant or a flap of tissue from another part of your body.
After treatment, you will have quite the road ahead of you in terms of recovery. Your doctor will help put together a list of steps you will have to follow, including mammograms, bone density tests, pelvic exams, blood tests, and different X-rays. Different forms of physical therapy can also be recommended, depending on the pain you’re experiencing. You might also want to look into different programs to help take care of your emotional and mental health after going through such a rough experience. There are support groups, and creative classes you can take, such as art therapy or narrative therapy to help untangle the often overwhelming aftermath of surviving breast cancer.
While it is still not entirely clear why certain women – and men – are more likely to get breast cancer, there have been tremendous scientific advancements made in its treatment and recovery. In conjunction with your doctor and other medical professionals, you will be able to come up with a treatment plan that safely puts you on the path to good health.