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Your Support Options for Advanced Breast Cancer

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  • So Many Questions

    So Many Questions

    An advanced breast cancer diagnosis can be physically and emotionally draining. If you’ve just been diagnosed, you undoubtedly have lots of questions. What is advanced breast cancer? What’s my prognosis? How do I choose the best doctor for me? What are my treatment options, and what kind of side effects do they have? And, just as important: where can I go to talk with others who are going through the same thing? 

  • Advanced Breast Cancer: Educating Yourself

    Advanced Breast Cancer: Educating Yourself

    Education can be empowering. By learning all you can about your disease, you can arm yourself with facts and figures to help you make sense of what’s happening inside your body. Put a name to your cancer. Learn how it works. Bringing this foreign invader out into the open can go a long way toward making it easier to face down.

  • Educational Resources – Your Diagnosis

    Educational Resources – Your Diagnosis

    So, where can you go to educate yourself? If you have access to a computer, a deep well of information is at your fingertips. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but here are some excellent resources for learning about your advanced breast cancer:

  • Treatment Options: Educating Yourself

    Treatment Options: Educating Yourself

    Your doctor should give you an overview of your treatment options, and may make recommendations for particular treatments. It’s a good idea to go online and read up on each treatment option and the accompanying side effects, as well as how the treatment would work with your particular type of cancer. It can also be helpful to look up statistics regarding how well each option has worked in the past. You might also want to find out if there are clinical trials you might qualify for.

  • Educational Resources – Treatments

    Educational Resources – Treatments

    There are lots of general information and medical center websites out there. These sites can give you a good overview of the many treatment options that are available. Research hospitals, university medical centers, and cancer specialists are a good place to start. Here are just a few to get you on your way:

  • Emotional Support

    Emotional Support

    The emotional strain caused by an advanced breast cancer diagnosis should never be overlooked. Support from others in similar situations, as well as from patients who have successfully battled breast cancer, is incredibly valuable. In return, acting as part of a support network for others can also bolster your self-confidence and resolve.

  • Supportive Resources

    Supportive Resources

    In addition to local support groups in your area, online forums, chat groups, and email networks can be a great source of support:

    • Inspire is an advanced breast cancer support community. It is currently over 9000 members strong.
    • Metastatic Breast Cancer Network (MBCN) is a national patient-led advocacy group for women and men with advanced breast cancer diagnoses.
    • Breastcancer.org has a very active discussion board created specifically for people with metastatic breast cancer.
  • Some (Positive) Statistics

    Some (Positive) Statistics

    By the time you’ve done all this research, you may think you’ve had enough of statistics. But, here are a few more (courtesy of the American Cancer Society) to help motivate you to keep on reading, learning, and communicating:

    • Patients who participate in support groups report a better quality of life, and may even live longer.
    • Education and support groups can help lower anxiety, fear, tension, and confusion.
    • Participants in support groups may be more likely to follow through with their treatment and have successful outcomes.

References:

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