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Navigating the News of a Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Step-by-Guide

Navigating the News of a Breast Cancer Diagnosis: A Step-by-Guide

As we transition into the fall months and we start to see the pink ribbons, it’s a reminder of Breast Cancer Awareness month. I’d like to explore Sharing the new of breast cancer. As the Director of Behavioral Health here at Lyric Health Dealing with the initial diagnosis of breast cancer is difficult, if not devastating. But in time and with the guidance and treatment plan of your medical provider and oncology team, and of course the support of your significant other, you can be in a better place to begin to cope with perhaps one of the most tenuous, challenging, scary, and stressful periods in your life, as you choose a path towards a full diagnosis, treatment, healing, and perhaps a change, and eventually a positive one,  in your body and self-image.   

Step 1: Acknowledge the Challenge

Dealing with the initial diagnosis of breast cancer is undoubtedly difficult, if not devastating.

Step 2: Seek Guidance and Formulate a Treatment Plan

With time, guidance, and a treatment plan from your medical provider and oncology team, along with the support of your significant other, you can begin to cope with this challenging and stressful period in your life. This step marks the path towards a full diagnosis, treatment, healing, and a potential positive transformation in your body and self-image.

Step 3: Prepare Your Support System

Your family, friends, and co-workers will notice changes in your emotional state. It’s essential not to keep the news from your closest family, including children, parents, and your partner or spouse, as they may become your most important support group.

Step 4: Develop a Plan for Breaking the News

Given the urgency and enormity of the situation, consider starting with your spouse or partner. Some women choose to have their significant other present in the doctor’s office during the initial diagnosis for moral support. If your children are old enough, plan a family meeting with your spouse to explain the diagnosis, treatment, and what to expect in the coming months.

Step 5: Communicate Effectively

For younger children, simplify your language and explanations, but be prepared for their questions. Anticipate inquiries and leave them with a sense of hope and optimism for the journey ahead. Importantly, be honest without causing unnecessary distress.

Step 6: Share with Close Personal Connections

When sharing the news outside your family, consider informing only your closest personal friends and coworkers. This intimate information can leave you feeling vulnerable, so share with those you trust in your friend and work circle. They are likely to offer valuable support, including help with meals, tasks, and transportation.

Step 7: Involve Your Employer

If comfortable, inform your boss about your situation. An understanding and informed boss can provide the necessary resources for your time away from and return to work, including physical, occupational, and human resources.

Step 8: Set Boundaries

Most importantly, establish boundaries that feel right for you. Depending on the relationship, you may not always want to delve into the specifics of your treatment and prognosis. Your heart will guide you on how much to divulge to those you are comfortable with and trust.

Step 9: You Are Not Alone

By sharing your diagnosis and treatment with those you trust, you acknowledge that you are not alone in this difficult time. This support can be instrumental in your journey towards healing.

About the Author

DR. JEFF GARDERE

Dr. Jeff is a monthly contributor for Lyric Health and one of the most widely sought-after experts in the mental health field.

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