Tips for breast cancer patients and survivors

Seattle’s Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and Cancer Care Alliance have been posting top 10 tips throughout the month of October for Breast Cancer awareness month. Each week a new list has focused on tips for prevention, screening, patients and survivors. Below are some highlights from their lists for patients and survivors, with links to the full lists.

Tips for Breast Cancer Patients During Treatment

Get specifics on your diagnosis and treatment. In order to maximize your time with your providers, bring your questions with you in writing to your appointments. Ask for copies of your test results and keep a notebook of all these results. Keep a list of questions that arise between visits so you don’t forget, and take notes of the answers. Above all, make informed decisions; learn as much as you can about your diagnosis and treatment

This tip was #1 on the list, and we couldn’t agree more. In an effort to help patients navigate their cancer journey, we provide content from the National Cancer Institute for patients to educate themselves about their cancer diagnosis and treatment, with detailed pages for each cancer type including frequently used chemotherapy and drug information. For example, here’s our page for breast cancer treatment.

There are a ton of great resources available online, but it can be a challenge to find them all and know which ones are worth your time, so we’ve taken the best of what we’ve found and linked to them from our recommended resources pages. This is a living library and is constantly being added to by Navigating Cancer staff and our community.

In addition, to help patients organize their thoughts and questions, we’ve created a Prepare for Doctor Visit tool that walks patients through a simple 5 step process that helps them maximize the time spent with their health care team. For patients that are tracking their health with our Daily Health Journal, this report becomes even more effective as it gives their doctor a summary of how they’ve been doing since their last visit.

Check out the rest of their tips for breast cancer patients during treatment.

Tips for Breast Cancer Survivors After Treatment

Completing treatment can be a time of anxiety and uncertainty for many patients.  Instead of being relieved, many patients find themselves asking, “what do I do now?”  The highest recommendation from Fred Hutch is:

Get a summary of your treatments. Have a list of what surgery, radiation and chemotherapy doses you received so that you can communicate these to your primary care providers. This will help you plan for No. 2 on the list.

With Navigating Cancer’s Personal Health Record, patients can create a Treatment Record Summary that can be shared with their primary care physicians as they transition their care. Patients who have been keeping track of their treatments on Navigating Cancer already have a complete treatment history so they don’t have to remember facts from months before.

In addition, we’re currently working with clinics to integrate with their health records so that patients with a Navigating Cancer account can have access to the information their health care team has entered into their database. This will make it even easier for patients to create a complete treatment record summary.

Read the rest of the Fred Hutch tips for breast cancer survivors.

Keep up the great work Fred Hutch and SCCA!

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