Most women, whatever their age, feel a sense of shock and disbelief following an initial diagnosis of breast cancer and have many concerns and questions. A breast cancer diagnosis is usually made after a series of diagnostic tests. The test results provide information about the type and stage of breast cancer which help with planning future treatment. It’s important to talk through the diagnosis with family and health professionals and here are some questions to ask your specialist. It may be helpful to take a friend or whanau member to any follow-up consultations to help you process the information.
Having breast cancer under the age of 45 may present some additional issues at diagnosis:
• Preserving your fertility if you're hoping or planning to have children
• The possibility of early menopause and bone health
• How to break the news to family, friends and others
• Whether or not to have reconstructive surgery or treatment during pregnancy
If you need help understanding your biopsy results, download this leaflet or call our Breast Care Nurse on 0800 BCNURSE (0800 2268 773).
Breast Cancer Aotearoa Coalition are a network of breast cancer survivors. They have used their experiences to produce ‘Step by Step’, an information pack and journal aimed at helping newly diagnosed women and men make informed choices about treatment and care. To order a free copy of ‘Step by Step’ visit their website.
Read or watch personal stories from younger women with breast cancer here. Talking to other women who have had breast cancer can also be insightful and there are many support networks available in New Zealand.