Doctors, specialists, and more.
When you’re living with MBC, it’s essential to find the right healthcare team, which may include a surgeon, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, radiologist, and pathologist.
I think it’s different for everyone and you have to honor who you are in this because it’s a long, long process. It’s not a doctor’s visit. It’s not, ‘I’ll check in every six months.’ It needs to work for you.”— Susan
It may take a few consultations until you find the doctors you truly like, trust, and feel confident will really listen to you and address all your concerns. Doctors, of course, are the experts, but you should still feel like you’re “owning” your treatment by being your own advocate, speaking up about your decisions, and asking lots of questions.
I want somebody who is invested in my health and my well-being and is constantly thinking. As my doctor here always says to me, this is a chess match and we have to stay one step ahead. So that’s the mindset for me. And that’s the doctor I need to be with."— Susan
Here are the different people who may make up your team:
If you already had breast cancer and are experiencing a recurrence, you may have a medical oncologist who can recommend other specialists and work with them to develop a plan.
Medical oncologists specialize in chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, targeted therapies, clinical trials, pain medications, and nutritional support.
Surgeons perform biopsies and other procedures and may remove some areas of metastatic cancer.
Radiation oncologists specialize in radiation therapy.
Radiologists interpret mammograms, ultrasounds, bone scans, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), positron emission tomography (PET) scans, and other tests to figure out the location and size of the cancer and to see how treatment is working.
Pathologists examine the biopsy sample and test the tissue to identify unique aspects of the cancer such as hormone receptor and HER2 status.
Various members of your healthcare team may work together at the same or different times and should stay in close communication about your ongoing tests and treatments.
Asking questions and raising any concerns will help guide your healthcare team toward the treatment pathway that’s right for you.
Be your own advocate and communicate with your team
Make sure you feel comfortable talking with and having open conversations with your healthcare team.
- Keep notes on your medication, how you’re feeling, and any changes you may be experiencing
- Don’t be afraid to talk openly about the level or frequency of pain
- Ask questions and make sure you understand the answers
- Raise any concerns you may have
- You may want to ask someone to help you keep notes or go with you to your doctor visits
You don't have to do this alone
Connect with support, your way, with the Facing MBC Together app.Learn more
Knowledge is power, so to speak. Right? That's how I approach it. Like, I want to be able to have a conversation with a doctor and be able to question what they're doing and why, and why they think this.”— Susan
An updated way to share updates
Friends and family will often ask about updates and how treatment is going. Share that information in a way you feel comfortable with. The Facing MBC Together app makes it easy to connect with your entire support network all in one place.See how it can help you Get the app
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