What happens after you receive a breast cancer diagnosis.

A diagnosis of breast cancer

If you receive a diagnosis of breast cancer, you will almost certainly need some treatment. Your hospital doctor will explain the next steps for you, including any further tests needed and the planning of your treatment.

If you need some additional support, do not be embarrassed to ask your doctor or nurse for help – they are used to providing emotional support as well as providing treatment for the cancer itself. You can also ask your GP for help in this area.

Many hospitals now provide counselling services as they acknowledge that how you feel is an important part of your treatment. It is normal to feel low and anxious when you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and to have good days and bad days. Some people also feel angry. Usually this disappears with time, but you may develop symptoms of depression, which may need some form of treatment. It is important to realise that many people experience this reaction at times of severe stress.

Everyone having treatment for breast cancer should be offered access to counselling or support services. You can ask your breast care nurse for more information on counselling services available to you. Your breast care team may work with the hospital’s counselling service and mental health services to help you. Your breast care team or GP should be able to organise one-to-one or group therapy for you, if you would find this helpful. 

More information

Receiving a diagnosis of breast cancer can be a distressing time. You may wish to speak to your breast care team about support available to you or contact Breast Cancer Care on 0808 800 6000 or Macmillan Cancer Support on 0808 808 0000.

Many of the Scottish Cancer Centres now have a Maggie’s Centre run by the charity Maggie’s to provide information, advice and support to patients.  

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Information last reviewed: 21 August 2013

Next review due: August 2016

This information is currently being reviewed and will be updated by December 2017.

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