5 things newly diagnosed breast cancer patients should know

If you’ve just received a breast cancer diagnosis, you probably have a lot of questions: What type of breast cancer do I have? How advanced is it? Do I qualify for any clinical trials? Can my doctor provide the treatment I need? Before you start making treatment plans and scheduling appointments, here are five things to know. Get an accurate diagnosis before starting treatment Not all breast cancers are the same, so it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis right from the start. This is particularly true if you have a rare or very aggressive form of the disease, such as inflammatory or triple-negative breast cancer. That’s because the type of breast cancer, as well as its stage and location, can determine the types of treatment you’ll be offered, as well as those you’re not eligible for. “We offer precise treatments based on precise diagnoses,” says Lavinia Middleton, M.D. “That’s why I believe everyone should get a second opinion. A second opinion can be a game-changer. About 25% of our patients will see a change in their diagnosis.” Where you go first for breast cancer treatment matters All patients who come to MD Anderson will have their diagnoses confirmed by our doctors. This ensures that your cancer is both correctly identified and accurately staged — two crucial steps in determining which treatment plans you’ll be offered. “Your first shot is your best shot at beating cancer,” says Makesha Miggins, M.D. “So, when patients come to us after they’ve already been elsewhere, their cancer treatment is often more challenging. That’s why I tell people to come to MD Anderson first.”...