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Thursday, December 6, 2007

Building Long-Term Health in Breast cancer

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Breast cancer treatment has progressed at a quick pace in recent years, and more advances are coming out all the time. This is great news for improving the health and survival odds for women with breast cancer. But it also means a confusing array of treatment options and often many months—and even years—of treatment.

After surgery, you might have months of chemotherapy, radiation treatment, or both. These may be followed by years of hormonal treatment or other targeted therapy.

But after the initial treatment—surgery, radiation, and possibly chemotherapy—is over, you might just want to put it all behind you. Done! You got through it, and you never want to deal with cancer again. You crave that normal feeling when you wake up, go through the day, and sleep through the night without any signs or thoughts of cancer. Like anyone else, you want to be able to think and plan for your future without the fear of cancer in your way.

All of these very strong wishes are totally normal. Yet you probably know you'll be dealing with some fear or concerns about cancer for the rest of your life. You may also have decided with your doctor that the best treatment plan for you includes long-term hormonal therapy or other medication that you have to take regularly—every day, week, or month—for years. And even many years after your initial treatment is over, you should be checked regularly so your doctors can monitor your health and make sure you're continuing to do well.

In this way, breast cancer has become similar to other serious, chronic conditions, like heart disease and diabetes. It's something you live with and take care of for the rest of your life.

So how do you take baby steps, and then bigger and bigger steps, beyond your initial therapy to ensure the healthiest possible future for you?

One of the big steps you need to take after your main treatment is over is to focus the strength of your mind on what's most important: your good health. You have to take a stand for getting the best ongoing care and living the best life possible well into your future.

Make a deal with yourself: you will do the best job you can to love yourself, speak up for yourself, take care of yourself, and take advantage of the best medical care available to you. Remember: there is only one of you, and you deserve the best care possible.

Of course, you don't have to do this all alone! Reach out and accept help from family and friends who are looking for ways to support you.

Think about your doctors and nurses as your "extra-special personal health-care team" that you've brought into your world to guard and cherish your life. Look at tests as an important way to know what's going on inside your body as a guide for your long-term treatment. View your ongoing therapy as an important insurance plan for extra protection beyond your initial treatment to keep you healthy well into your future.

The treatment plan, or regimen, that you and your doctors put together for you is designed to strengthen your outlook for a healthy future. By following it fully, you'll have the best chances of living a long, disease-free life.

This section of breastcancer.org is intended to help you remain committed to your treatment plan, so you can maintain the best possible long-term health and quality of life.

In this section, we'll help you understand why it's so important to stick to your plan, suggest ways to handle possible difficulties in following radiation, chemotherapy, and hormonal therapy regimens, and encourage you to talk with your doctors and nurses to find other effective treatments and regimens

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1 comments:

Kellee said...

Great work.

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