Waiting For Results
What To Do When You Have To Wait
Waiting for the results of biopsy testing, scans, or lab tests can understandably weigh heavily on your mind. Some people cope by educating themselves and trying to map out their possible options; others reduce stress by distracting themselves with whatever feels fun; still others find the waiting time provides the opportunity to assess their priorities or deepen meaningful relationships.
Regardless of the balance that works best for you, here are a few thoughts of hope to keep in mind.
- Only about 20% of all breast tumors are cancerous.
- Most cancerous tumors are highly treatable.
- Cancer treatment opportunities are continually improving.
Some Practical Tips For The Wait
- Evaluate how you are spending your emotional energy and reduce “optional” stress.
- Continue with your normal routine, including going to work.
- Treat yourself to healthy food.
- Go for a walk or continue to get exercise if you can.
- Seek support from others who have been in similar situations.
- Calm your mind with meditation, prayer, or thoughts that bring you a sense of peacefulness.
Signs That May Indicate It’s Time To Learn Some New Coping Skills
Obsession. If you find yourself obsessing about cancer, it may be time to intentionally back off from the intensity.
If you’re losing sleep, neglecting self care, unable to care for your children, “awfulizing,” or spending several hours online researching, it might be time to step away for a while. Take breaks!
Avoidance. Don’t diagnose yourself, delay, or avoid recommended tests and treatment.
If your physician has ordered more tests, it is because he or she feels the need to gather more facts. If treatment or further testing is recommended, it’s in your best interest to respond promptly.
Feeling overwhelmed with advice. Don’t assume anyone else’s situation or story will be identical to yours.
You have the right to be discerning about when and how you get your advice, although well-meaning friends and acquaintances may be drawn to share their positive and negative experiences, you can listen to your own emotions. It’s always okay to say when you’ve had enough.
Hopelessness or Despair. Notice depression.
If you find yourself experiencing symptoms of depression, be sure to let your healthcare provider know. Although sadness, anxiety, and grief are natural emotions at this time, do your best to cultivate hope and keep it alive inside you.
Medically reviewed June 2023
Abnormal mammogram result? Be informed and ask the right questions.
If your mammogram screening was abnormal, don’t panic. The free resource, Abnormal Mammograms and What to Do Next, details the different kinds of tests you may need and includes a list of specific questions to ask your doctor at your next appointment. Be prepared to understand your results and empowered with critical information about your next steps.
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