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Breast Cancer In Situ: Managing Your Medical Care: Diagnosis To Treatment Decision

Take Time Making Medical Decisions.

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As a general matter, a decision about what treatment to take does not have to be made immediately. In fact, according to Dr. Peter I Pressman, a noted oncologist specializing in breast cancer: "A sensible goal is to have treatment under way within three to four weeks after diagnosis. Though growth rates for different types of breast cancer can vary, there is no evidence of a measurable change for any of them in a period of three or four weeks. " To put it another way, there are no breast cancer emergencies. Keep in mind that it took years for your cancer to reach the current stage.

All too often, a decision about what treatment(s) to undergo is unnecessarily made during the first visit to a cancer doctor.

Time is NOT of the essence.

There is less likelihood of having a regret about your treatment decision if you  take time to let the emotions that appear on diagnosis settle so you can make a decision with a more clear head, do some research about potential treatments, and possibly get a second opinion from another cancer specialist.

Ask the doctor who diagnosed you how long you have to begin treatment. You can then work backwards to set dates by which the various aspects of what needs to happen prior to treatment actually happen.

NOTE: If you become so anxious and frightened that you become unable to think straight or take action, consult with a mental health professional who can help reduce anxiety enough so that you can participate in the decision. (See "To Learn More.")

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