Guide to Diagnosis: Screening, to Biopsy, to "You Have Cancer"

Patient Expert


You had your annual mammogram, and got a callback for a second one - they saw something "different." They want a "compressed view."

Then they decided you needed an ultrasound; after that, a biopsy. And then came the phone call.

You have cancer.

Cancer is a huge kick in the gut. It takes awhile to catch your breath, start to absorb the fact that you have a potentially life-threatening illness" pull your socks up, and move forward.

The following posts will help you as you move past diagnosis; and get ready to make a whole series of decisions about treatment.

OK, breathe deeply" You can get through this. And we can help. Check out the following links for some advice on what to do first.

-The First 48 Hours
-I Have Breast Cancer - Now What? A Step-by-Step Guide to Treatment
-Breaking the "I Have Cancer" News: 10 Strategies for Communication
-Cracking the Code: Breast Cancer Vocabulary  
-Help with Decision Making

Your medical team may want you to go through additional diagnostic screening, prior to making final treatment decisions. Or you may feel you need more information, in order to make informed decisions.   Do you need an MRI? How about genetic testing?

-MRI: Is it Right for You?
-BRCA Genetic Testing: Yes or No?

You may or may not have received a pathology report from your doctor. Or, you may have gotten a partial report, based on your biopsy. Welcome to the world of incomprehensible medical jargon

Puzzling over your pathology report? Trying to figure out the difference between "grade" and "stage"?   And what the heck does T2N0MX mean?

-Reading the Pathology Report - A Layperson's Guide to Understanding your Breast Cancer Diagnosis

You've received your diagnosis: infiltrating ductal carcinoma, ER/PR+, HER2-neu negative. Obviously, you to know more. Check out our helpful FAQS on the most common types of breast cancer: DCIS/LCIS; IDC (infiltrating ductal); ILC (infiltrating lobular); IBC (inflammatory); and Paget's.

-Types of Breast Cancer

Triple negative isn't a type of breast cancer, but it's a significant characteristic or all types. Read our FAQS to find out what it means, and how it's treated.

-Triple Negative Breast Cancer

As I said at the beginning of this piece, absorbing the fact that you have cancer - and then accepting it - is a struggle. Read the following posts for help during this difficult time.

-Why Did I Get Cancer?
-The Breast Cancer Diagnosis: Carpe Diem