A diagnosis of breast cancer is a life-changing moment for more than 3000 New Zealand women every year.
If you have just been diagnosed, you will be on an emotional roller coaster and you're probably feeling quite overwhelmed.
We hope we can help - by helping you to understand breast cancer and providing you with information that will assist you to make the best decisions about your treatment and care. Below you'll find some tips on coping with a new diagnosis.
We would encourage you to order one of our Step by Step resource kits - they're free for every newly diagnosed woman in New Zealand. Each pack contains an information booklet about breast cancer, a diary to keep track of your medical treatment and a journal to record your thoughts and feelings.
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A diagnosis of breast cancer can throw you off course. But dealing with a diagnosis is easier when you feel empowered, informed and in charge. Knowing what you are dealing with can help to keep your emotions in check.
Below you’ll find some ways to help keep you on an “even keel”.
- Slow down and think about what you will need to help you over the next few days, weeks and months.
- Actively participate in the medical process
- Find a medical team that you feel comfortable with
- Write down questions for your medical team
- Keep asking questions until you understand
- Take a support person with you to consultations to take notes
- Seek a second opinion if you want to
- Don’t rush decisions about your treatment programme
- Speak to others who have been there – talk to someone with breast cancer or read a book by someone who has had the disease
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, or support groups
- Let your feelings out by talking to your spouse or partner, a close friend or family member or by writing in a journal
- Be kind to yourself
The information contained in each pack will help you to understand your diagnosis, empower you to ask questions of your medical team and help you to make informed choices about your treatment options.
Step by Step offers practical tools and advice to help organise and restore some control over lives that have been turned upside-down by a diagnosis of breast cancer.
The three components of Step by Step are:
- an information book - with reliable information about diagnosis, surgery, treatment options and after care products; as well as details of support groups and information about access to Government subsidies.
- a comprehensive diary - to record and organise personal medical and treatment information, note appointment times and write down any questions for your medical team.
- a Journal - which contains messages from women who have experienced breast cancer, shared in the hope that they will bring comfort and guidance to those newly diagnosed. We hope this space to note down your thoughts and feelings will help to ease some of your worries and anxiety.
Step by Step is free for everyone newly diagnosed with breast cancer. You can order your copy of Step by Step here.
Find out more
For more information, if you've just been newly diagnosed, check out the following: