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Breast Cancer infographic

Breast Cancer Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment

Breast Cancer Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment


1. Before testing (screening)
  • Know if you should be tested and why.
  • Know the right age to start getting tested.
  • Make an appointment with your doctor, or find one, to talk about the test.
  • Talk with your doctor or nurse about any concerns.
  • Have close friends and family support you in getting tested.
  • Schedule your mammogram appointment, taking work, home, language, and getting there into account.
2. Getting a mammogram test
  • Keep your appointment.
  • If the doctor does not call you back in a week, call the office to ask for the results
3. If the 1st test suggests cancer
  • The results may be normal, not normal, or somewhere in-between. Try not to panic or worry.
  • Ask what the mammogram results mean.
  • If the results are not normal, a breast ultrasound or biopsy may be recommended. Talk with your doctor and nurses about the results and the next steps.
  • Make and keep follow-up appointments.
  • Ask your close friends and family for support.
4. If the doctor tells you it’s cancer
  • Ask all the questions you want. The doctor, nurse, and staff are there to help you understand and make good decisions about next steps.
  • Expect to be referred to a cancer specialist who will discuss the best treatment options and take over your care for a while.
  • Ask your close friends and family for support.

Doctors and Nurses

1. Before testing (screening)
  • Have a good clinic record system that reminds you which patients are due for testing.
  • Talk with each patient about her risk of breast cancer, the benefits and risks of testing, and the right age to start testing.
  • Answer questions from your patient about her concerns—costs, cultural barriers, fears, etc.
  • Identify where she can get the test done.
  • Have the office staff remind your patient of her upcoming appointment.
2. Getting a mammogram test
  • Help your patient understand what she needs to do during the test.
  • Answer her questions before and during the test.
  • Get results quickly and promptly call your patient.
3. If the 1st test suggests cancer
  • If possible, assign a patient navigator to your patient.
  • Talk with your patient about the next set of tests.
  • Answer questions about your patients’ concerns.
  • Refer her promptly for the next test or to the next doctor.
  • Remind your patient of her upcoming appointments.
  • Schedule a follow-up appointment, regardless of the results of the next test.
4. As soon as you know it’s cancer
  • Know the next step(s) and why they are needed.
  • Refer your patient promptly to a cancer specialist.
  • Keep track of her progress so she continues to see the cancer specialist(s) and gets all necessary therapy.
  • Work with a patient navigator, if possible.