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By Caroline's Breast Cancer Blog
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Pre-Treatment Education

Thursday, October 13, 2016 4:00
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So you get a crappy diagnosis, I have had a few, and you instantly want your body fixed! Quickly you rush to the surgeon and get the nastiness removed. With cancer, after surgery you usually get more fun with treatment such as chemo and radiation. Then pow, your body starts protesting and you instantly end up with multiple side effects, including ones that could cause permanent damage to your body and require additional surgeries.

This scenario is not that uncommon with breast cancer patients. Women want that thing out! They have surgeries and chemo and radiation. I have friends who ended up with problems with their mastectomies which required multiple more surgeries. Some have suffered through problems with the 'donation' site on their bodies where tissue was taken to create a 'foob' after a mastectomy. I have a friend with permanent cardiac damage as a result of chemotherapy. Me, and others, have lymphedema as a result.

The rush to surgery means lack of attention to potential side effects and body changes, both physical and emotional. Not enough attention is placed on the after effects. I have always thought that with both my breast cancer surgeries and treatment and many other medical procedures.

This morning I read over at Hen Backtalk and found a link to an article talking about what kinds of tests to request before treatment. While the doctor, author of the article, focuses on specific tests before breast cancer chemotherapy. But I believe this is true, I think this is a very valid point. Not enough focus is given to this part of the medical decision making process.

Doctors and other medical professionals usually can't give us all the details because they usually have not had the treatment protocol themselves. I think if you are facing a major medical decision, especially cancer treatment, find someone who has been through this themselves before making any decision. Cancer surgeries are usually focused on removing as much of the cancer as possible and getting clean margins. So with breast cancer, for example, you might end up very 'lopsided' due to the need to get the clean margins. You can't have enough information before major surgery.

This is where support groups and online forums can be so helpful. Don't be shy, get out there and ask your questions. Find someone who has gone through the procedure and decision process you are facing to learn about side effects and after effects in general. Education is always good.

Caroline\’s Breast Cancer Blog


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