Although it is difficult to talk about, your treatment team can help you discuss planning your life with metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Different kinds of specialists – such as social workers, nurse navigators or palliative care specialists who focus on improving quality of life – can help sort through your affairs. Some people find it helpful to have a plan in place, so they do not have to make as many decisions when the time comes.
In the following video, Dr. Nadia Harbeck, an oncologist and breast cancer specialist, spoke to Rebecca, a woman living with MBC, about how she thinks about end of life planning for people living with MBC.
Dr. Harbeck is head of the Breast Center and chair for Conservative Oncology at the Department of OB&GYN, University of Munich.
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Potential side effects of treatment vary for each therapy, and every person responds differently. Talk to your healthcare team about the potential side effects of treatment, including side effects like anxiety, depression or insomnia. If your healthcare team understands the side effects you are experiencing, they can better help you manage them.
Some of the women we surveyed said it was sometimes hard to take their cancer treatment as prescribed. It is okay to feel this way, but if you do, let your healthcare team know. Cancer treatment is complicated, so do not make changes before talking to your healthcare providers, even if you are experiencing side effects. The more information you communicate, the more they will be able to help you.