What Support Is Available For My Family?

Question: What supports are available for my family?

Answer: I think that doctors and nurses understand that all family members are terrified when a loved one is diagnosed as having breast cancer. I think the doctors who make the diagnosis of breast cancer -- often a radiologist or a surgeon -- is available to spend time with the woman, her partner, her spouse, or female relatives who may have accompanied her to a diagnostic session. Acknowledging that family members are going to be frightened, acknowledging that children will be frightened and inquisitive about what's going on at a developmentally appropriate stage is important for a woman to know. Most women are going to find the support that they receive from nurses and from doctors and guidance about how to tell family members -- aging family members, small children, teenage girls, teenage boys -- about the diagnosis and planned treatment is very, very effective.

Mary Jane Massie, MD
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