How do lifestyle factors and exposure to environmental substances affect our cancer risk?
Breast cancer touches more people than just those who receive the diagnosis. If a family member or close friend has breast cancer, you may find yourself in the role of caregiver through treatment and, in some cases, an extended recovery period.
Learn how to be an effective caregiver in Your Guide to Cancer Care.
As a caregiver, you’ll provide emotional support and help with routine tasks. In some circumstances, you may assist with more personal activities like giving medication or taking care of other physical needs. You may also find yourself playing the role of advocate during meetings with doctors, nurses, and other specialists.
If you do participate in consultations with healthcare providers, it’s a good idea to prepare for each visit together ahead of time, by writing down any questions you both have. You’ll also want to take detailed notes during the conversation.
If you’re the primary caregiver of someone with breast cancer, you may play an active role in your loved one’s treatment decisions. You may also find yourself serving as an advocate for your family member or close friend with doctors and other healthcare professionals, hospital administrators, and insurers.
Your presence may be especially valuable during the frequent consultations with doctors and other specialists. These appointments can often be stressful and confusing. Your participation can help ensure that all of your loved one’s concerns and questions are addressed, and that she or he understands and keeps track of any advice or instructions given.
Keep in mind, though, that it is up to your loved one — not you — to decide whether you take part in these consultations. You can volunteer, but you can’t insist if the person prefers to talk with doctors alone.
Here are some questions you may want to make sure are addressed:
Because being a primary caregiver is very demanding, it’s important to make time to take care of yourself as well.
Learn how to care for yourself while providing care for another in Your Guide to Cancer Care.
Look into respite care provided by a family member, friend, or professional caregiver who will take over your duties for a week or so every six months, or whenever you feel you need a break
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