A breast cancer diagnosis can be an overwhelming thing to receive. Unfortunately, it is not entirely uncommon. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, according to the National Breast Cancer Association. The good news is that advancements in screenings have led to earlier detection, which can greatly increase outcomes. While we are still fighting to cure breast cancer entirely, better understanding this disease and what a diagnosis means can help raise awareness and support our loved ones.
- 1. Be supportive. Any cancer diagnosis is the beginning of a medical journey that can be demanding and emotionally difficult. Our oncology nurse navigator stresses the importance of providing support and love during this time. Navigator Nicole Phillips is here to offer emotional support to patients, as well as practical support. The role of the Nurse Navigator is to help all breast cancer patients from day one of a diagnosis through treatments, scheduling, education and more.
- 2. Understand the diagnosis. Cancer can be a scary word, but understanding a diagnosis can help patients and their loved ones feel more comfortable with the medical journey. Breast cancer can come in different types and stages. In all types, breast cancer occurs when a malignant tumor develops in the breast tissue. Damaged DNA can occur both from hereditary and environmental factors, and in most cases it can be a combination of the two. While many patients will not know how their cancer formed, there are many mythical risk factors that are not causal, such as cell phones, microwaves, underwire bras or deodorants.
- 3. Help spread awareness. Thanks to better screening tools and early detection, breast cancer fatalities have been decreasing since 1999. There is still plenty of work for our community to do to continue this success. You can help by raising awareness and supporting breast cancer research. Consider participating in local Breast Cancer Awareness month activities or help educate others about avoiding known risk factors like obesity and smoking, and the importance of screenings. Newer technology like the 3D mammography at Crittenton Hospital means that breast cancer can be detected earlier than ever.
A cancer diagnosis is never easy, but it is our hope that at Crittenton our patients feel the compassion and care of our breast cancer specialists from the moment of diagnosis through every step of their medical journey. Learn more about cancer services at Crittenton Hospital.