Being told that you have breast cancer usually comes as a shock. For many people there are no outward signs or symptoms of the disease. For others who experienced symptoms, it’s quite normal to have hoped that there was nothing to worry about.
Whatever your situation, and however you’re feeling about it, it is important to know that breast cancer has a high survival rate, especially when found and treated early.
In the weeks following your diagnosis, you might feel like you’re being bombarded by information. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, keep in mind that you don’t need to make any fast decisions. Nor do you need to rush into having surgery right away. It’s fine to take a little time and think about what feels right for you. If you do start to feel overwhelmed, try to slow down and take things one step at a time.
Here are some practical suggestions to help you through:
Give yourself permission to pause and think about what you need to get through right now.
Take your time and make sure you understand the information that you are given.
Take small steps. Breaking things down into small steps helps to keep things manageable and reduce stress.
Ask for more information if you need it. This will help you manage your health in a way that works best for you.
Find a medical team that you are comfortable with.
Write a list of the ways in which you can participate in your own health care; small things like being well prepared and asking questions can go a long way.
Consider taking a family member or close friend with you to medical appointments, so they can listen and take notes for you.
Be kind to yourself and remember that most Australian people survive breast cancer.
Ask for help. Don’t be afraid to let others help you and your family.
For more tips and strategies for coping during this challenging time, read Getting through the first few weeks
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Find resources created with and for those who identify as LGBTIQ+ and have been diagnosed with breast cancer, at all stages of treatment
Resources for Indigenous women diagnosed with breast cancer, including stories from other First Nations women about treatments and support
Tips to ensure people in same-sex relationships have access to the right health professionals and support following a diagnosis
Let’s be Upfront about the extra challenges and different needs of LGBTIQ+ people when diagnosed with breast cancer.
Let’s be upfront about LGBTIQ+ communities that are affected by breast cancer.
Understand the main medical terms and acronyms you may find when you are living with a breast cancer diagnosis or going through treatment
Let’s be Upfront about navigating a breast cancer diagnosis as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
*This article does not provide medical advice and is intended for informational purposes only.
Please consult a medical professional or healthcare provider if you're seeking medical advice, diagnoses, or treatment.