Everyone has their own way of coping during this difficult time but it is very common to feel worried, anxious and distressed. Waiting for test results can be very stressful and when you are anxious you produce a hormone called cortisol. Studies have shown that the levels of this horrmone in a woman waiting for results is close to that of a woman who has been given a positive breast cancer diagnosis. Stress lowers your immunity and this is the last thing you need.
Tips to help keep your stress level down:
- Ask “when” and “where” you will be told the results. This gives you a timeline
- Maintain your daily routine
- Take care of yourself. Good health habits are often neglected during stressful times
- Get plenty of rest
- To improve your sleep, avoid caffeine and alcohol
- Get plenty of exercise
- Go for a walk or do things that will help you to relax like a soothing bath, meditation or yoga
- Share your feelings with a loved one if talking about what you are going through will help you
- Consider taking someone with you to your appointments. A second pair of ears can be helpful when trying to remember all the details
- Contact your family doctor to let them know how you are feeling. He/she may be able to help
Here are some preparations that you can do ahead of time:
- Write down all of your questions so that you won’t forget to ask them
- Bring someone with you to help remember details
- Always bring a journal with you to record information, future appointments etc.
- Some women find comfort in their faith and prayer. Talk to your priest, rabbi or pastoral care advisor
Remember, although it is important to have all breast abnormalities assessed, the majority are not cancerous. Most are harmless variations of normal breast tissue. This is true for more than 90% of women with a breast abnormality.
Ref :A Guide to Breast Assessment - Action Cancer Ontario