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Expert Quote

"You can imagine a day when there's a treatment that would have a huge benefit for reducing the risk of recurrence and new cancers for women who are eight to nine years out from treatment. If they're not periodically checking in, I don't know how we're going to find them and give them this information."

—Kathy Miller, M.D., medical oncologist

When your initial treatment is over, you'll want to focus on how to become as healthy as possible. What a relief to feel that each day of your life is not defined by cancer and that you now have other things — yourself, your family, your friends, your work, your hobbies — to pay attention to!

Yet, having lived with cancer, you know that it will always be part of your experience — a chapter in the book of your life. It's something in your past that you still think about and that you'll need to monitor in the future.

You can take several important steps to address any ongoing concerns and make sure you're doing everything you can to stay healthy in the long run:

  • Continue to visit your oncologist (cancer specialist) or family doctor at least once or twice a year.
  • Keep a record of any changes you notice in your own health.
  • Write down any questions and concerns that are on your mind so you can get answers by phone or at your next doctor's visit.
  • Stay informed about new advances in breast cancer treatment. (Be sure to sign up for the breastcancer.org email updates.)

Staying informed is important for several good reasons:

  • It will help you feel confident that you're taking charge of your own health.
  • Learning more can help give you the best information to lower your risk of the breast cancer coming back or a new cancer developing.
  • When you know what's available, you're able to consider new options.
  • Not every advance in research might be important to you. But it might help someone you know who's going through treatment.

Still, if you're like so many women today who are busy juggling work, family, and social schedules, you just don't have the time to stay on top of every breast cancer development. And the amount of information out there can be overwhelming. So how can you find out what's important to YOU?

The key is to watch for any major medical breakthroughs, ask questions, and stay in touch with your doctors.