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It can take anywhere from two to 10 days to receive your biopsy results. If you’ve had multiple biopsies or complicated biopsies, this time may be even longer. While waiting for a biopsy is nerve-wracking, long wait times do not mean the results are bad. Biopsy results can be delayed for technical reasons or because the pathologist needs more tissue. The need for a second opinion or special tests can also delay biopsy processing, but these delays help ensure a more accurate result.

Depending on your situation, you may be able to choose between getting chemotherapy or not. This is common when you have early-stage breast cancer. With early-stage breast cancer, the chance of the cancer returning is smaller than usual. Getting chemo will further reduce your chances of recurrence. However, due to the many negative side effects of chemo, you may prefer skipping chemotherapy. There is no right answer to this; speak with the different members of your medical team and see what their different viewpoints on this choice are.

When undergoing chemotherapy, many women experience hair loss, nausea, and fatigue. These side-effects can often be controlled with medication. And they go away after chemotherapy is done. Pain is another common side effect of chemotherapy, particularly pain in the muscles, stomach, or head. You may also develop mouth and throat sores during chemo, grow weaker finger and toenails, and have trouble with memory and thinking.

There are two approaches to hair loss from chemo: embrace it or minimize it. If you choose to embrace it, consider throwing a hair shaving party or videoing the moment. You will probably hold a lot of emotions as you let go of your hair, and you may want to memorialize it in some way.

On the other hand, studies suggest you can prevent and reduce hair loss during chemotherapy through scalp hypothermia. Also known as cryotherapy, this technique cools the scalp during chemotherapy infusions. In doing so, it limits the negative effects that chemo drugs have on the hair. There are several cooling caps available for this, including DigniCap. Rogaine can also limit the impact of hair loss by speeding up regrowth.

Regardless of whether you’ve chosen to embrace the baldness or attempt to minimize it, you might sometimes just want a full head of hair. One option for managing hair loss is wearing wigs. You can have these wigs styled by a stylists who specialize in wigs for hair loss. Caps and scarves are also easy and simple options to manage hair loss.

This largely depends on your individual reaction to chemotherapy. Some women recover from chemo side-effects a few months after finishing treatment. Others may need several years to fully recover.

During radiation, you may experience fatigue or skin problems, such as itching or peeling. Depending on where the radiation therapy is given, you may also experience other side effects. These include dry mouth, shortness of breath, nausea, or fertility issues. Radiation also impacts your breast reconstruction options.

Yes, both in the way that all major life events do and due to the unique physical challenges of undergoing breast cancer treatment. During your breast cancer journey, you will experience numerous physical changes and challenges, including pain and exhaustion. Breast cancer treatments, especially those that impact your hormones, also often cause vaginal dryness and loss of libido. Sex may not be on the forefront of your mind in the middle of treatment, but it is likely to be a part of you finding your new normal again. Reading our article on breast cancer and sex may be a helpful starting point.

Breast cancer treatment can be draining and result in physical changes. But these treatments help women live longer and reduce their risk of recurrence. If you decide not to treat your breast cancer, the disease will continue to grow. Eventually, it will metastasize, meaning the cancer spreads to other areas of the body. When this happens, the disease becomes fatal.

In addition to your primary care physician, you will interact with medical oncologists, surgeons, radiation oncologists, and plastic surgeons. These professionals all belong to your medical care team and work together as a team to care for you.

Your physician may know about current and upcoming clinical trials that could benefit you. However, you can also search trial databases online at or the National Cancer Institute to find one. Once you find a trial you are interest in, make sure you meet the eligibility criteria. For many breast cancer trials, you must have a specific type of breast cancer or have completed certain cancer treatments in the past. Assuming you are eligible, your healthcare provider can help you contact the trial’s coordinator. Or you can reach out through the database where you found the trial.

That being said, a quick word to the wise: there will always be some new and upcoming treatment. The fact that the treatment is still in clinical trials means researchers still don’t know if it is the most beneficial treatment or not. That’s what they are trying to figure out. If you’re in the position of deciding whether to enroll in any particular treatment, clinical trial or not, it can be overwhelming. Here’s one plastic surgeon’s advice on making treatment decisions: Simplifying Breast Cancer–You Are All That Matters.

Have questions we’ve not answered? Let us know.