You’ve Been Diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Now What?

Abreast cancerdiagnosis can leave you emotional and feeling overwhelmed with several questions. That's understandable. Our goal is to help you address some of these questions head-on, so you can properly prepare for your first appointment with the cancer care team.

What Kind of Doctor Should I See Next?

Typically, the next step for breast cancer patients is to move from their PCP (primary care physician) or gynecologist to a medical oncologist. If possible, it's ideal to schedule with a breast cancer specialist. This is a medical oncologist who works extensively with breast cancer patients.

Compass Oncology's breast cancer care team includes medical oncologists and surgeons who specialize in the needs of breast cancer patients in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA. 

Request an appointment at a location near you for a consultation that includes a personalized treatment plan.

find a breast cancer specialist in portland - vancouver

Choosing a Breast Cancer Surgeon

compass oncology - new diagnosis breast cancer - find a surgeonSurgery is a part of most breast cancer treatment plans. The timing of surgery will be decided together by your breast cancer surgeon and your medical oncologist.  

Compass Oncology's breast surgical oncologists specialize in oncoplastic procedures to give the best cosmetic outcome possible. 

Your Breast Cancer Care Team

compass oncology - newly diagnosed breast cancer patientYour care team will include several specialists, including:

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Free Guide for Newly Diagnosed Breast Cancer Patients

Get helpful tips from our team on what to expect and how to prepare your mind and body for breast cancer treatment. 

We hope this guide will make your path to breast cancer treatment a bit smoother.

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Understanding Breast Cancer

Every breast cancer patient at Compass Oncology will receive personalized treatment options based on several different factors. Here are the different important aspects of creating the best breast cancer treatment plan for you.
compass oncology - types of breast cancer

What Kind of Breast Cancer Do I Have?

Breast cancer can begin in different areas of the breast. Your breast specialist will discuss whether your breast cancer has hormone or HER2 protein receptors that make it grow and will use this to determine your breast cancer type and the treatments you may receive. Understand more about the types of breast cancer.


What is the Extent of My Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer stages are typically expressed as a number on a scale of 0 through IV — with stage 0 representing contained, non-invasive cancers and stage IV representing cancers that have spread. The results of the biopsy and images taken will allow your oncologist to determine the extent of your breast cancer. Read more about breast cancer staging.

Which Breast Cancer Treatments Will I Receive?

Breast cancer treatments are based on a variety of factors including the type, stage of your breast cancer, and age. The breast specialists at Compass Oncology will evaluate your individual situation along with the other care team members to make a recommendation on how to go forward.  Here are some of the most common breast cancer treatments. 

Surgery for Breast Cancer

Surgery is an essential part of the breast cancer treatment journey. However, there are several factors that the surgeon will discuss with you to determine whether a lumpectomy or mastectomy is best for you as well as your plans for breast reconstruction.

Medical Oncology Treatments

There are several different types of medical oncology treatments for breast cancer including chemotherapy, targeted therapy, hormone therapy and immunotherapy. The right treatment plan for you is based on the type and stage of cancer. 

Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer

Many patients receive radiation therapy as part of their treatment plan for breast cancer. It can be given before surgery, after surgery, or in some cases both to be sure that all of the cancer cells are killed in the breast. The right timing will be determined by the breast cancer care team including the radiation oncologist.

Should You Consider a Breast Cancer Clinical Trial?

Compass Oncology’s cancer specialists participate in breast cancer research in hopes of being able to find and provide new treatments to patients. Research trials are now available at all of our locations throughout the Portland-Vancouver area. Talk to your breast cancer specialist to find out if a clinical trial is right for you.

Preparing for Your First Appointment

At your first oncology appointment, you are going to get a lot of information in a short period of time. Here are some useful tips on how you can remember what you're told and keep track of questions you'd like to ask your breast cancer specialist.

Keep a Notebook

To stay organized, we suggest getting a notebook to keep a record of important information. This can include information such as how you’re feeling and what medicines or supplements you’re taking, to any questions, thoughts, or observations you have regarding appointments and procedures. Try to put a date on everything you log down.

If a method other than paper works better for you, then commit to using it regularly. Having information written down (and on hand) can help keep the lines of communication open between you and your doctors.

Questions to Ask Your Specialist

  • Is my breast cancer hormone-positive? How does this impact my treatment?
  • Do I need to adjust my lifestyle (diet, exercise, rest, work) during treatment?
  • How often will I need to come to the cancer center for treatments?
  • Will surgery come before or after other treatments are given?
  • What can I do to prepare myself for breast cancer surgery?
  • Is there any suspected lymph node involvement?
  • What time frame do I have to make treatment decisions?
  • How should I prepare for breast reconstruction?
find a breast cancer specialist in portland - vancouver

After Breast Cancer Treatment

Following breast cancer treatment, your breast cancer doctor will want to monitor you closely. It’s very important to go to all of your follow-up appointments. These visits give your doctor an opportunity to address your questions and concerns, look for treatment-related side effects, and discuss other follow-up treatments that may be necessary, such as hormone therapy or reconstructive surgery.

Should I Get a Second Opinion?

Feeling confident about your breast cancer diagnosis is extremely important, which is why many patients choose to get a second opinion before beginning a specific treatment plan. At Compass Oncology, our physicians provide many second opinions on both breast cancer diagnosis and treatment options. Many insurance companies will cover a second opinion assessment, but it is still a good idea to contact your insurance provider for verification of coverage.

Watch the video below to learn about the importance of a second opinion for cancer diagnosis and treatment. The oncologists at Compass Oncology are available to discuss your test results, cancer diagnosis, and options for treatment.

Resources for Breast Cancer Patients: You're Not Alone

Through this difficult time, the cancer specialists at Compass Oncology are here to help you every step of the way. We provide each patient a binder containing more helpful tips and what to expect during your breast cancer journey. There are also various community resources that may help you too.

Breast Cancer Doctors Caring for Patients in Portland-Vancouver

We provide the most recent breast cancer treatments to patients at all of our cancer centers in the region. Choose one that's convenient for you to request a consultation. 

East Office

5050 NE Hoyt St., Suite 256, Portland, OR 97213 Near Providence Hospital

Rose Quarter Cancer Center

265 N Broadway
Portland, OR 97227

Vancouver Cancer Center

210 SE 136th Avenue,
Vancouver, WA 98684

West Cancer Center

12123 SW 69th Avenue,
Tigard, OR 97223

Download the New Patient Breast Cancer Guide - provided by compass oncology