The steps towards a breast cancer action plan.

When you learn you have breast cancer, you might feel overwhelmed or lost. But now is the time to breathe, collect yourself, and learn what’s possible. This is the time to engage with your care team and be confident that an action plan can help you feel informed, empowered, and in control as you prepare to move forward.

The Steps Towards a Breast Cancer Treatment Plan
Build your care team

The oncologist and surgeon may be key members of your care team. Bring questions to them so you can better understand what you are facing and all of your options. Your care team may also include other medical experts who can also answer questions and provide valuable insights.

Start by asking:

  • Which members of my care team will I be working with?
  • Can you explain the roles of each care team member?
  • Who else should I consider adding to my extended care team at this time?

Learn more about the care team.

Get the facts about breast cancer

There are many types of breast cancer. Talk to your care team to understand the details about your stage and type in order to help plan for treatment.

To learn more about what your diagnosis means, ask:

  • What can you tell me about the breast cancer I have?
  • What should I know about this type and stage of breast cancer?
  • What are the chances the cancer will come back?

Learn about stages and types of breast cancer.

Know your treatment options

Your care team can help you as you explore the different kinds of treatment available to you. These may include pre-surgery treatment (called neoadjuvant therapy), surgery, and post-surgery treatment (called adjuvant therapy).

To explore all of your treatment options, ask your care team:

  • What are my treatment options?
  • Is surgery needed? If so, how soon and what can I expect?
  • Do I have options for treatment before or after surgery? If so, what are some important things I need to know?
  • What are the possible side effects of treatment and surgery?
  • Do my surgery choices impact my ability to get reconstruction surgery?

Find out more about treatment options.

Consider a second opinion

You may wish to seek a second opinion when you have been diagnosed with breast cancer. You won’t offend your doctor. It’s a common practice and is widely accepted in health care. A second opinion may help you feel more confident about the treatment plan you and your care team choose.

Get more insight on second opinions.

Prepare for treatment

Get ready to go. Once you make a treatment plan with your care team, focus on preparing mentally, physically, and emotionally.

To help you get ready for treatment, ask:

  • How can I prepare for the first day of treatment?
  • What is my treatment schedule?
  • How can I best track and manage side effects of treatment?
  • What are some ways I can prepare physically and emotionally?

Get more guidance about how to prepare.

Gather more support

Your care team is with you every step of the way, from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. But there is also an extended care team of health care professionals and resources that can give you added support. Your extended care team may include nurse/patient navigators, dietitians, psychologists, genetic counselors, physical therapists, social workers, and many more. Ask your care team about this extended care team, and how they may help support you on your breast cancer journey.

Find out about your extended support team.