What to Expect After a Breast Cancer Diagnosis

We’ll answer your questions and walk with you every step of the way.

Knowing what to expect can calm your fears and give you a sense of control over treatment.

Our breast cancer team meets with thousands of patients just like you to answer questions and explain what happens next. You won’t be alone in the process.

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  • What can the Henry Ford Breast Cancer Center offer me?

    The Henry Ford Breast Cancer Center was the first program of its kind in Michigan. It remains one of the only centers of its size to implement a true team approach, which means you have a unique opportunity to meet with all specialists in one visit. Our goal is to provide comprehensive support and a personalized approach to breast cancer care.

    When here for breast cancer treatment, you can expect:

    • Advanced treatments: Our radiologists, surgeons, and oncologists pursue advances in the treatment of breast cancer, including breast-conserving treatment whenever possible.
    • Clinical trials: We offer broad access to clinical trial opportunities for patients diagnosed at all stages of breast cancer. Our physicians participate in ongoing research and are on the cutting edge of developments in breast cancer treatment.
    • Expertise: Along with a passion for providing individualized care, our team has decades of experience in all aspects of breast cancer care.
    • Personalized treatment plans: We don’t believe in cookie-cutter approaches. We will tailor a treatment plan to your specific diagnosis, health needs, and priorities.
    • Team approach: Our tumor board -- composed of medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, pathologists, plastic surgeons, nurses with expertise in breast cancer, and support staff members -- meets to review every patient’s case and discuss options for treatment. You will have access to these experts and other specialists in the Henry Ford to manage other issues that may come up, such as hot flashes or cardiac conditions.
    • Top accreditation: Our Breast Cancer Center has achieved national accreditation. This means you are sure to receive the most efficient and contemporary breast care possible using scientific evidence about what works best.
  • What should I expect from my first appointment?

    It’s important that you understand your diagnosis and treatment options. During a full-day, clinic-based program, your breast cancer team will talk you and your family through the process and answer any questions you may have.

    Your first visit will include:

    • Introduction: When you arrive, you will meet with a breast specialist nurse practitioner who will discuss your medical history and perform a physical exam.
    • Patient education: You will attend a patient education class coordinated by a nurse, and watch educational videos that explain your breast cancer treatment and recovery. We’ll also share available cancer support resources from Henry Ford and the American Cancer Society. At the end of the class, you will receive a patient education packet.
    • Breast cancer tumor board: While you attend the patient education class, our multidisciplinary breast cancer team will meet in a different room to review your case. They will discuss treatment options, including your eligibility for clinical trials, and determine which specialists may be involved in your care. You will meet some of those specialists during your first appointment.
    • Treatment planning: Your breast cancer treatment plan will be unique to your cancer, health, and priorities. You will meet the specialists who will be involved with your treatment, and your nurse navigator who will guide you and your family or caregiver to make the necessary appointments for your plan.
    • Comprehensive cancer support: After meeting with your breast cancer team, we will introduce you to a breast cancer survivor through the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery program. We also will connect you to a variety of support services and resources during treatment and recovery, such as breast cancer support groups and wig services for chemotherapy patients.

    You will leave the Breast Cancer Clinic with the name and phone number of your breast cancer nurse navigator, who is available any time to answer questions or help schedule appointments. He or she is most often able to return your phone call within the same day.

  • What questions should I ask my doctor?

    As you prepare for your first appointment, you may want to consider discussing these topics with your doctor:

    • What type of breast cancer do I have?
    • What stage is my cancer, and how does that affect my treatment options?
    • Do I need further tests?
    • How soon should I begin treatment?
    • How should I prepare for treatment?
    • How may my life change after treatment?
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