Breast Cancer Diagnosis: Now What?

Breast Cancer Diagnosis: Now What?

About one in eight American women will develop breast cancer during her lifetime. What happens when you or a loved one is among them? Breast cancer treatment is a journey. At times, it may seem overwhelming. Take comfort knowing we're here for you.

Here are some guideposts and resources to help you along the way.

Share News About Your Diagnosis

Learning you have cancer can be an emotional rollercoaster. Although “cancer” is easy to pronounce, it can be the hardest word to say when you’ve just been diagnosed.

Remember, it’s healthy to talk about it with your friends and family. Sharing the news can help you cope. It can relieve feelings of isolation and frustration. When you're ready, tell your loved ones about your diagnosis.

  • Use words that are comfortable for you. There’s no one right or wrong way to discuss your disease.
  • Get help. Make a list of people you want to tell personally. Then ask a family member or trusted friend to talk with others.
  • Plan ahead. Most people will have questions about your prognosis or next steps. Think about how much you want to share — it’s up to you. There may be topics you aren’t ready to talk about. Think about ways to change the subject if something you don’t want to talk about comes up.
  • Be gentle, but honest when talking with children. They may sense something is wrong and should hear about your cancer from you. Stay calm and assure them they’ll be cared for.
Take Good Care of Yourself

Steps you take to nurture your physical, emotional and spiritual well-being are vital during this time. Here are some tips to help you cope better.

  • Get enough rest, eat healthy foods and stay physically active.
  • Stay involved with the activities and things you enjoy. Not all parts of your life need to be put on hold.
  • Find quiet time for reflection and relaxation.
  • Get help from your doctor if you feel anxious, hopeless or depressed for more than two weeks.
Prepare for Treatment

Making decisions about your treatment may seem overwhelming. There are many choices when it comes to cancer treatments, so decisions may not always be straightforward. Learn as much as you can about your cancer and the treatment options available to you. When you’re actively involved in the decision-making, it will help you better understand your treatment. Understanding can help you feel more in control and less worried about the road ahead.

We’re Here to Help

Along with understanding your diagnosis, knowing what to do next isn’t always clear. As a member, feel free to reach out to us here at Blue Cross and Blue Shield. Call the customer service number on your member ID card.

One phone call will let you know what resources and help are available to you. Just tell the Customer Advocate you’ve learned you have breast cancer. Ask to talk with a care manager.

We have a team of registered nurses and social workers ready to help you through your treatment and recovery journey. Together, they’ll make sure you get the best possible care. These care managers can be a lifeline to support services. They will:

  • Explain your treatment options
  • Provide referrals to Blue Distinction doctors if you need a second opinion
  • Help plan your treatment and recovery
  • Offer resources to assist you and your family with child care, transportation and finding affordable medicine
  • Listen and help you cope with feelings and emotions
  • Find resources for a wig
  • Connect you with a dietitian to address your new nutrition needs

Case managers also work with our teams of doctors and pharmacists to review your treatments and medicines. These reviews help prevent harmful interactions with any of the drugs you take. They let you know about any foods you need to avoid while taking certain medicines.

Case managers also work behind the scenes to coordinate care among your doctors. Along with coordinating your medical care, a case manager helps you understand what’s ahead, provides answers to your medical questions, and guides you through the journey with compassion.

Are you facing breast cancer?

Sources: Cancer Diagnosis: 11 Tips for Copingleaving site icon Mayo Clinic, 2022.

Originally published 10/5/2015; Revised 2019, 2022, 2024