8. Choose your doctor wisely. Breast cancer specialists who work at dedicated cancer centers offer specific expertise as well as access to the latest treatments that are part of clinical studies. Such centers can provide other specialty services, usually under one roof, such as physical therapy, nutrition and social work.
9. Get specifics on your diagnosis and treatment. To maximize your time with your providers, bring your questions with you in writing to your appointments. Ask for copies of your test results and keep a notebook of all these results. Keep a list of questions that arise between visits so you don’t forget, and take notes of the answers. Above all, make informed decisions; learn as much as you can about your diagnosis and treatment.
10. Get good nutrition and bone up on bone health. Cancer treatment may influence taste and smell, and it may alter your digestion. Foods that you normally enjoy may not taste good during treatment while, paradoxically, foods that normally don’t appeal to you might taste better. You may have more energy and less nausea if you eat smaller amounts of foods more frequently rather than eating three big meals per day. Eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes such as black beans and lentils. Choose a rainbow of colorful whole foods (like deep greens of spinach, deep blues of blueberries, white for onions, and so on) to ensure that you get a variety of anti-cancer nutrients. Alcohol is usually not preferred or recommended during treatment. Keeping your bones healthy throughout your life is important; however, if you’re a woman who’s been diagnosed with breast cancer, bone health is especially important. Research shows that some breast cancer treatments can lead to bone loss. Plus, women are about twice as likely as men to develop osteoporosis after age 50. Talk to your health care team about specific recommendations for keeping bones healthy, taking calcium and vitamin D, and appropriate weight-bearing exercises to help keep bones strong.