Be prepared and stay on top of the details.
An important part of being a caregiver is accompanying your loved one or friend to doctor visits and communicating with the entire healthcare team.
Hold their hand while they’re getting treatment. Walk them to their car, take them a meal. Just listen to them, giving them space to talk about what they want to. Or if they don't, just sit and be quiet.”— Stephanie
Make sure to take notes, listen intently, and ensure there’s clarity around what’s discussed during the appointment or treatment session.
Before the visit:
Keep track of details in a notebook, binder, or tablet so you can easily update and refer to your notes during the visit.
- Medical information, including dates of tests and procedures
- Names and doses of medications
- List of questions
- Daily habits and feelings and any changes you’ve noticed
Try to keep a pulse on pain levels so they can be discussed during the visit.
Pain is a sensitive topic for many people with MBC. They may not speak up about their pain because they don’t want to complain, or because they’re worried that their MBC is getting worse. It’s normal to downplay how they’re feeling. But it’s important for you to make the healthcare team aware of your loved one’s pain so it can be managed.
When doing research, be sure to find credible sources of information and bring printouts or links you can refer to.
Before each visit, call ahead to ensure that the office has everything they need including test results, scans, records, or other paperwork.
If you think that a longer appointment would be helpful, ask for more time.
During the visit:
Advocate for your loved one by asking questions that they may not be asking. Refer to your list of questions.
Take notes and ask to record the conversation if you think that would be more helpful to you.
If you’re not clear when the doctor answers a question, feel free to ask again in a different way.
Get the name and number of someone you can call with questions outside of normal business hours.
After the visit:
It’s important to find a healthcare team you feel comfortable speaking openly with, and who will answer your questions and return your calls.
If you aren’t getting the answers or care you think your loved one needs, it’s okay to seek out another opinion.
Friends and family will often ask about updates and how treatment is going. Share information when and in a way you feel comfortable with. The Facing MBC Together app makes it easy to share information with your entire support system.
You don't have to do this alone
Connect with support, your way, with the Facing MBC Together app.Learn more
So if you want a second opinion, I always say to people, you need to go where they have a separate philosophy, where they think differently. Because otherwise you’re just going to confirm what you already know.”— Susan
Helpful tools for tracking treatment and nutrition
Download the “Guide to Facing MBC” to learn about simple lifestyle changes that may have a positive impact on your day-to-day living. This resource, derived from evidenced-based research, includes tips on nutrition, physical activity and stress management.Get the MBC Guide
The Viver Chemo Symptom Tracker is a visual guide that helps you understand how to manage the physical effects of chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer.Get the Tracker
Have questions about diets geared toward people with MBC? The Viver Diet & Nutrition Guide for plant-based eating is designed specifically for people with chronic disease.Get the Nutrition Guide
Looking for more caregiver resources?
Find information, tips, and more in this guide from ASCO Cancer.Net.Download the guide »