Newly Diagnosed with Breast Cancer

Next Steps for a New Breast Cancer Diagnosis

A breast cancer diagnosis can leave you feeling overwhelmed with many questions. Our goal is to help you address some of these questions head-on so that you can prepare for your first oncology appointment. We hope this guide will make your path to breast cancer treatment a bit smoother.

What Kind of Doctor Should I See?

After a cancer diagnosis, you will transition to seeing an oncologist. Oncology is the study of cancer. An oncologist is a medically trained doctor who leads the care for patients after a cancer diagnosis. As a patient of Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center, you will have access to oncologists at one convenient location. 

Once your oncologist has learned more about your specific diagnosis, he/she will consult with you and the rest of your care team to develop a personalized treatment plan. Your care team will include several specialists, that typically include: 

  • Medical oncologist 
  • Breast cancer surgeon
  • Radiation oncologist 
  • Plastic surgeon, if needed

Surgery may seem like a logical first step; however, some patients can benefit from a different approach. Visiting with a medical oncologist first will help determine the best treatment for your specific diagnosis.

find an oncologist at Willamette Valley

About Breast Cancer

Each WVCI breast cancer patient will receive treatment options based on several different factors.

Treatment options are often based on a variety of factors, including:

Types of
Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can begin in different areas of the breast, including the ducts, the lobules, and sometimes the tissue in between. The type of breast cancer you have will determine your treatment plan.

Breast Cancer & Hormones

Hormones such as estrogen or progesterone can fuel the growth of breast cancer. So can an overgrowth of the HER2 protein. Your treatment is based on the presence or absence of these.

Stages of
Breast Cancer

Breast cancer stages are typically expressed as a number on a scale of 0 through IV, with stage 0 representing contained, non-invasive cancers and stage IV representing cancers that have spread.

Which Breast Cancer Treatments Will I Receive?

Every breast cancer diagnosis is unique; therefore, our team is committed to caring for each patient individually. 

Breast Cancer Surgery

Sometimes you may not need surgery right away. Your medical oncologist will review the information they have available to them to determine if some treatments for breast cancer would be helpful before surgery is performed. Then, you can discuss options for breast surgery including a lumpectomy or mastectomy, and the various options for each.

Breast Cancer Therapies

A number of breast cancer treatments are available for breast cancer patients. Depending on your cancer, some patients may only one or two types of treatment, while others may need more as oncologists determine how your body responds to the treatment, including chemotherapy, immunotherapy, hormone therapy, and radiation therapy.

Is Breast Reconstruction Surgery Needed?

The decision to have breast reconstruction surgery is a personal one and should be considered carefully. Your team of breast cancer specialists can walk you through your breast reconstruction surgery options and explain how deciding before your mastectomy can play a role in your overall treatment plan.

Our cancer care specialists are dedicated to helping breast cancer patients throughout Willamette Valley and the Oregon coast - including Albany, Corvallis, Eugene, Florence, Newport, and Lincoln City.
find a WVCI cancer center location near you

What About Breast Cancer Clinical Trials?

WVCI can access the latest clinical trials in several convenient locations. These breast cancer clinical trials help uncover various new treatment options, including new breast cancer treatments and allow many patients to receive newly developed therapies or investigational drugs not yet available outside the study. 

If you feel as though a clinical trial is something you’d be interested in, talk with your oncologist to determine if you would make a good candidate. 

Your First Oncology Appointment

While every cancer journey is different, support is something that can be beneficial to any patient. We highly recommend that you take a relative or friend with you to your first appointment. Not only will they be there to provide emotional support, but they can also listen and help take notes on all the information you will be discussing. Having an extra set of ears may help you recall details later on. 

Take Notes

During your first oncology appointment, you’ll be given a lot of information that may be hard to remember. To ensure you don’t miss anything, we suggest having a notebook to record important information. This notebook can be a place to include notes on how you’re feeling and the schedule of any medicines or supplements you’re taking. It is also a good place to jot down any questions, thoughts, or observations you think of between appointments with your cancer care team. When possible, add a date to your entry so all of your thoughts and notes are organized.  

If you prefer a more modern method, consider taking notes on your smartphone or even recording audio clips. Whatever method suits you best is fine— pick one method and commit to using it regularly. Having well-documented information is one of the best ways to maintain open communication between you, your doctors, and your caretakers. 

Questions to Ask Your Breast Cancer Specialist

  • Should I change any current lifestyle choices (diet, exercise, rest, stress level)?
  • Do I have any genetic mutations that could affect other family members?  
  • What can I expect at my future appointments? 
  • Has my cancer affected any lymph nodes?
  • What types of professionals will be on my cancer care team? 
  • Are there any activities to avoid? Are there any that I should add to my routine?
  • Are there any supplements I can or can’t take to boost my nutrition level? 
  • What are my breast cancer treatment options, goals, and 
  • What are the side effects of my breast cancer treatment options?
  • Are clinical trials an option? Would I be a good candidate? 
  • How quickly do I have to decide on treatment? 
  • Will I have access to supportive care?
find an oncologist at Willamette Valley

Should I Get a Cancer Diagnosis Second Opinion? 

It’s important that you are confident about your breast cancer diagnosis. Many patients choose to get a second opinion before beginning any specific breast cancer treatment plans. At Willamette Valley Cancer Institute and Research Center, our physicians provide second opinions on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment options. Many insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment. However, you should contact your insurance provider for verification of coverage for second opinion appointments.

 

You are Not Alone in Your Breast Cancer Journey

The breast cancer doctors at WVCI are here to support you every step of the way, providing our patients with everything they need to feel both informed and empowered during this time. Various national resources may help you too. Visit our Support Services page or read frequently asked breast cancer questions answered by our oncologists for more breast cancer resources. Various national resources may help too.

After Breast Cancer Treatment

Once you have completed breast cancer treatment, your oncologist will want to monitor you closely. Therefore, it is crucial to go to all of your follow-up appointments. During these visits, your doctor will address your questions and concerns, ask about side effects related to treatment, and discuss other follow-up treatments that may be necessary, such as hormone therapy or reconstructive surgery. Remember to bring your notebook (or other documentation methods) and a support partner to as many visits as possible.

Breast Cancer Specialists Caring for Patients in Willamette Valley and the Oregon Coast

Our cancer care team knows it’s essential that you get useful information to choose the best breast cancer treatment for you. At WVCI, you receive the most advanced treatment options for breast cancer, with treatment plans individually created for each patient. 

Find a Breast Cancer Center Near You

When you’re ready, select the location nearest you to make an appointment with one of our breast cancer doctors at a location convenient to you in Albany, Corvallis, Eugene, Florence, Lincoln City, and Newport, Oregon.

Albany

2615 Willetta Street SW, Building C
Albany, Oregon 97321

Corvallis

444 NW Elks Drive
Corvallis, Oregon 97330

Eugene

520 Country Club Road
Eugene, Oregon 97401

Florence

340 9th Street
Florence, Oregon 97439

Lincoln City

3015 NE West Devils Lake Road
Lincoln City, Oregon 97367

Newport

2039 North Coast Highway
Newport, Oregon 97365