You get your routine annual mammogram and, soon after, you receive a call or letter from your doctor’s office. You’re told that a potential abnormality was found on your mammogram and you need to make an appointment for further testing. Although it’s unnerving to get this news, experts say you shouldn’t panic.
"If you’re called back for additional mammogram views or a biopsy, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have cancer," says Sandhya Pruthi, MD, associate professor in the division of general internal...
Write your questions down so you don’t forget them. If okay with your loved one, feel free to ask the doctor these question at an appointment. You may want to share your questions with your loved ones before you go.
Be prepared for changes in your loved one's behavior and mood. Medications, discomforts, and stress may cause your loved one to become depressed, angry, or fatigued.
Encourage your loved one to be active and independent, as much as possible, to help her regain a sense of self-reliance and control.
Be realistic about your own needs. Be sure you are sleeping enough, eating properly, and taking some time off for yourself. It is hard to offer much help when you are 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. They will appreciate the opportunity to help.
Family members and friends of a person coping with breast cancer may also find themselves under a great deal of stress. To reduce your stress:
Keep a positive attitude.
Accept that there are events you cannot control.
Be assertive instead of aggressive. "Assert" your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of becoming angry, combative, or passive.
Learn to relax.
Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when you are physically fit.
Eat well-balanced meals.
Rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events. Don't rely on alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.