A woman who learns that she has breast cancer goes through all kinds of emotions, often contradictory. Sometimes sick people and their families feel a sense of discouragement or revolt. At other times, feelings can range from optimism to hopelessness, or courage to anxiety.
All of these reactions are perfectly normal in people who are faced with an upheaval in their life. In general, patients respond better to emotional shock if they can talk about it openly with family or friends.
Questions about the future, in addition to more immediate questions about examinations, treatment, hospital stay, medical costs, often arise. Talking about it with doctors, nurses, and other caregivers can help relieve the worry.
Patients should actively participate in their care by asking questions about their disease and its treatment. It is often helpful to write down questions to ask the doctor when they come to mind. Taking notes during the medical visit can help to recall a particular topic of the discussion. Do not hesitate to ask the doctor to explain any points that seem unclear. Patients may have many medical questions to ask; the doctor is the best person to answer them. The question of the desire to have a child, in particular, must be addressed during the first consultations with the doctor. A patient exposed to medical treatment that risks altering her fertility has the right to benefit from techniques for the preservation of her gametes and / or germinal tissues.
In addition, a meeting with a psychologist or a psycho-oncologist can be offered to patients who need it.
The social service of the hospital or clinic can also guide the patient or her relatives for all the practical aspects revolving around the disease: rehabilitation, psychological support, financial aid, transport, home care. Finally, patient associations are very active (see contacts, below): they provide information on the disease, treatments, patients’ rights, etc. They also often offer support to patients through a hotline. dedicated telephone calls or meetings between patients.
All women treated for breast cancer should have an annual mammogram of the untreated breast. This test allows you to watch for the appearance of another cancer. Those who have had conservative surgery should also have an annual mammogram of the treated breast to look for signs of a possible local recurrence.
In the event of an imaging abnormality or abnormal symptoms, additional examinations are prescribed.
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