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    Breast Cancer: Get the Support You Need

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    How Do I Keep Track of My Medical Information?

    • Don't be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse, or another health care professional to repeat any instructions or medical terms you don't understand. They should always be available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
    • Take notes at your appointments so you can remember what your doctor told you. If you can, bring a friend or family member to your appointments. They can help take notes and ask questions.
    • Ask your family and friends to help you sort through the information you receive.
    • Use the resources and support services offered by your hospital and in the community. Learning more about your disease will help you feel more comfortable with your treatment.
    • Talk with other patients and families about breastcancer and its treatments.

    What if I Become Unable to Make Decisions About My Health Care?

    You may want to make documents called advance directives, such as a living will and a durable power of attorney for health care.

    Your living will gives clear instructions regarding whether you want treatment that artificially prolongs your life, like dialysis or a ventilator. This document is prepared while you're able to make medical decisions. It's used only if you become unable to make your own decisions later.

    Your durable power of attorney for health care lets you appoint another person to speak for you if you can't express what type of medical care you want.

    Should I Write a Will?

    No one likes to think about his or her own mortality, but everyone should have a will. It can ensure that those who survive you will know how to carry out your wishes. This document should be prepared with your attorney.

    What Should My Family and Friends Keep in Mind?

    Here are some tips for them:

    • Feel free to ask the doctor questions if you go with your loved one to her appointments.
    • Be prepared for changes in your loved one's behavior and mood. Medications, discomforts, and stress can cause her to become depressed, angry, or fatigued.
    • Encourage her to be as active and independent as possible.
    • Be realistic about your own needs. Get enough sleep, eat right, and take some time off for yourself. It's hard to offer much help when you're exhausted. If you take care of your needs, it may be easier to meet the needs of your loved one.
    • Don't hesitate to ask other family members and friends for help.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on May 08, 2015
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