A cancer diagnosis can feel overwhelming — you face questions, big decisions and a torrent of new information. For the newly diagnosed, YSC offers help in understanding your diagnosis, tools for managing your health and support from young women who have been there.
AFTER YOUR DIAGNOSIS: UNDERSTANDING AND SUPPORT
We hope these resources can help you take control of your healthcare—and face your new diagnosis with strength, confidence and hope. We encourage you to order YSC's Newly Diagnosed Resource Kit- a wealth of information and support just for YOU and free of cost.
If you are newly diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, please visit our Metastatic Breast Cancer page.
Information can help you navigate this challenging time—some important things to remember:
Your Experience: There are many types of cancer and cancer experiences. Get advice, gather information and learn from other young women who understand—but don’t be surprised when your experience differs. Just because a friend or an aunt had a certain experience, don’t necessarily expect the same thing for yourself. You are unique, and your experience will be unique, too.
Questions: All those questions filling your head? Welcome them. They are completely normal and will help you stay on top of your healthcare. Make a list and never be afraid to ask your doctor anything. You have a right to complete answers. It can also help to keep a notebook of important responses.
Reports: Some of the most important information you receive will come from your pathology report. Have your doctor explain yours to you completely, including:
- The type and aggressiveness (“grade”) of your cancer
- If it’s invasive
- If your lymph nodes are involved
- Your hormone-receptor status
- Oncogene overexpression
Take control of your healthcare and navigate the challenges of breast-cancer treatment with these tips:
Resources: Order one of our Newly Diagnosed Resource Kits (NDRKs) for even more helpful information, tips and tools.
Keep Track: A potentially overwhelming amount of answers, data, reports, appointments and advice will come your way—at the very least, it’s a lot to remember. Turn that information into a force for support by staying organized. A young woman in control of her information often feels more in control of her health. Some ways to keep track:
- Create a binder to help manage important documents—including medical records (you have a right to copies), contact numbers, appointment, questions, reports and bills. You can also use the organizational system in our Newly Diagnosed Resource Kit.
- You will get a lot of information at your appointments. Take notes or bring a voice recorder. A supportive friend or loved one can often help do this for you.
Your Treatment: Make sure you understand your treatment options and why your doctor recommends one in particular. Every woman will likely have several viable alternatives, usually including surgery, chemotherapy and hormonal treatments. Take the time you need to make your decisions and don’t be afraid to seek second opinions. Talk to your doctor early if you are concerned about preserving fertility.
Medical Team: Make sure all your doctors and healthcare providers give you the information you need—and that you trust and understand them. You should ask about your medical team’s experience treating cancer like yours.
You might also see other medical specialists:
- Getting diagnosed with breast cancer at a young age can point to a genetic link. A genetic counselor can tell you about genetic testing and your risks. Find a list of counselors directory here and read more about hereditary breast cancer here.
- If you are concerned about having children, talk to your doctor about seeing a fertility specialist.
You may have heard you’re too young for this diagnosis. You may be wondering how it could happen to you. But you should know that you’re not alone. Thousands of young women have walked the path you now face—and come through it stronger and full of life.
Make sure to find the support you need—from your loved ones and the young women of YSC. You can connect through your local Region and our SurvivorLink program. Tap into our network of support at home with YSC’s online community programs.