Make the Best Decision with the Information You Have

The more knowledge you have about your tumor, the clearer your decision-making process will be. Keep in mind that human nature will have you doubting your decisions even when much time and thought has been given to them.


Remember no two breast cancer scenarios are the same. Two breast cancer tumors may be similar in size and grade and even have the same lymph node involvement, but you need to remember that your choice should be based on past experience, what is important to you, your family history, personal fears, and other unique considerations. This is why it is important not to fall into the trap of comparing your breast cancer situation with someone else's.

Some situations will challenge your choices at this vulnerable time in your life and may possibly give you some self-doubt about what you have chosen for yourself: After careful investigation, consulting doctors, family, friends, and the Internet, you have made a decision to have adjuvant chemotherapy or maybe a mastectomy with or without reconstructive surgery. Whatever the choice, the reality sets in as you live with side effects as you go through treatment, get fitted for a new bra, or deal with breast reconstruction surgery. You meet someone who had a similar experience to yours (or so it seems). She may have decided on a lumpectomy and radiation whereas you decided on a more aggressive approach including chemotherapy.

In Her Own Words

I decided to go for reconstructive surgery — did it at the same time I had my double mastectomy. Reason: I am 49 and have a long life to live. My personal appearance is very much a part of who I am. I also wanted to minimize the amount of surgeries, so going under once with two procedures was one of the best decisions I made.

— Pat, age 49, 6-month survivor

At these times, it is helpful to remember what went into your decision-making process and what the factors were at the time that convinced you to make the decisions that you did. Perhaps you wrote the pros and cons in a journal that you can refer to. Once you make your decision, don't second-guess yourself, but know you made the best decision with the information at hand.

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