Making Decisions and Getting Organized After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

There is no single way to treat breast cancer because it is not one disease. There are often many options, and even the leading experts may not treat the same breast cancer in the same way. Important decisions take time, particularly when you have just been diagnosed so don’t rush. Ask your doctors how much time you can take to make your decisions.

Making decisions can be difficult because:

There is more than one choice.
Each choice has good points (pros) and bad points (cons).
There is no “correct” choice.
What you choose depends on what is important to you.

Once you have made a decision it is important to get organized.

Get Informed. Learn the basics of your diagnosis from credible websites.
Ask for help. Find a partner to go to the doctor with you and take notes. Breast Cancer Options has a program called Companion/Advocates (trained survivors) They can accompany you.
Find resources like support groups, social workers, friends, etc.
Consider second opinions from: breast surgeon, pathologist, medical oncologist and radiation oncologist.
Appeal claims if they are rejected. If an insurance claim is rejected, appeal it and re-submit the claim. Every insurance company has an appeals process. Make a copy of all paperwork that is submitted. If your claim is rejected several times and you think it should be covered, contact the state insurance commission. In NYS contact the Attorney General’s Healthcare Unit: 800/428-9071
Get Organized-Keep a folder that includes:

A notebook to take with you on medical visits.
Copies of all of your medical and lab test reports.
Record of the dates of your doctor and health related visits.
A file of all your medical bills. These should be crosschecked to make sure that they have been submitted to your insurance company.
Copies of the Explanation of Benefits from your insurance company. (Check to make sure that your insurance company paid their part.)
Bills from all practitioners that are not covered by your insurance company. (Check with your accountant. You may be able to deduct the expense from your income tax.) Tax deductible expenses might include mileage for trips to and from medical appointments, out-of pocket costs for treatment, prescription drugs or equipment, the cost of meals during lengthy medical visits.


Study Indicates Errors in Breast Cancer Testing in Canadian Province of Quebec

One Response to “Making Decisions and Getting Organized After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis”
  1. Susan says:

    Heather, this is so helpful for anyone facing a breast cancer diagnosis. I also really appreciated some of the resources for support and help, plus what to do when your insurance is denying your claims when they should be approved.

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