You’ve just received a call from your doctor telling you that you have something suspicious on your last mammogram. You can’t stop thinking about it. You worry and wonder if it’s cancer, if it’s severe, or if you’ll be here for years to come. I know these thoughts, because I’ve been there.
The mammogram is just the start of the detection process. You may need an ultrasound or an MRI to detect other growths. You will definitely be asked to have a biopsy to determine if the growth is cancerous or benign.
A biopsy will remove the suspicious cells and tissues. Two of the most common biopsies are a needle biopsy and a surgical biopsy. A needle biopsy will remove tissues or cells via a needle. This tends to be guided by x-ray, ultrasound, or MRI. The surgical biopsy will involve surgery to make an incision to remove a chunk of tissue where the growth resides.
This whole process can be scary and daunting. It’s important to know that you are not alone in this diagnostic process. Your doctor and nurses are there to help. You’re spouse or a close friend can be that person you lean on. If you’re still at a loss, the four tips below can help you through it all.
1. Stay Calm, Don’t Panic
This is easier said than done on most days. When we panic or worry excessively, our bodies react. Try to stay as calm as you can. That long-term reaction to stress will have a negative effect on your health.
2. Understand Your Options
Ask your doctor about your options. Knowing these options, the pros and cons to each, will help you make a better decision about what your best course of action is.
3. Seek A Second Opinion
When you’re unsure, or are having a difficult time, don’t forget your right to a second opinion.
4. Advocate For Yourself
At times, you may feel like what is best for you does not match up with your doctor’s opinion. Speak up. Be your own advocate for what you want and what feels right.
Cancer is scary. There is no denying that fact. But there are a few things we can do to help deal with it better. A strong support system and educating yourself on all of your options for treatment will go a long way towards dealing with the stress of a cancer diagnosis.
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