October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month
| by Dr Elena Borrelli

The American Cancer Association reports that aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women. In 2020, over 325,000 new cases of breast cancer in the US are expected to be diagnosed in women. In the U.S.,1 of every 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer does not only affect women. Unfortunately, men can also develop breast cancer.

Despite breast cancer being so common, and its widespread awareness, the diagnosis hits just as hard when it occurs. A cancer diagnosis is an unexpected brick for the patient and their loved ones. Some have described it as, “suddenly throwing your entire life into unorganized chaos.”

First Steps

Fortunately, because breast cancer is well known, there are a variety of healthcare providers that specialize in breast cancer, as well as various treatment options available. Each case is unique, and different management options are available for each person. It is important to choose a specialist that is experienced with your type of breast cancer.

Finding the Best Care

Your cancer management checklist should include finding a specialist that you are confident and comfortable with. This patient-provider relationship might not occur with the first provider you meet and that is okay. It is a great idea to get a second (or third or 4th opinion) if you feel like you just don’t feel comfortable with your provider or agree with the recommendations. This is true at the start of your journey and at any point during the process.

How Do You Know That You Have Found The Best Provider For You?

  • You trust your healthcare provider
  • You feel like your healthcare provider has your best intention always
  • You are able to contact your healthcare provider or team anytime with questions or concerns
  • You can discuss a detailed plan together and you comfortable proceeding
  • You can ask all your questions and get them addressed
  • You do not feel as if you are being blown-off or ever feel inadequate or nervous to ask questions
  • Your overall quality of life is a top priority
  • You are provided with supporting resources and tools to assist you

The above are important considerations when searching for a breast cancer specialist. Several centers have an entire breast cancer team that is available to help.

My Breast Cancer Centers Has A Team Which Includes A Patient Advocate, So Why Would I Benefit From a Private Patient Advocate?

This is an excellent question and one frequently asked. Breast cancer center teams, including nurse navigators or patient advocates, can be an excellent asset to a patient diagnosed with cancer. However, there are additional benefits that a private patient advocate can offer.

Benefits of a Private Patient Advocate


A private patient advocate is not affiliated with a specific hospital or insurance system, therefore they provide biased assistance with just one focus: You, the patient. If you are not happy with your care or considering alternative treatment or second opinions, a private patient advocate can research and help navigate the best additional opinions.

Experienced Personalized Care

A private patient advocate who is experienced with cancer patients is aware of what struggles that often occur and can assist you. A Private Patient Advocate offers a more personalized focus on you and assisting with resources, appointments, and more. A private patient advocate will keep your care organized and help ensure things don’t fall through the cracks and avoid medical errors.

Insurance and Billing

Insurance and billing issues can often lead to frustration and can be very time consuming, which is the last thing that someone dealing with cancer needs. A Private Patient Advocate takes that frustration and worries away from you. She can obtain insurance approval, follow-up on denials, submit appeals, and organize and manage bills.

When Is The Best Time To Hire A Private Patient Advocate

Honestly, anytime during the journey, a private patient advocate can organize and help navigate the path and help remove worry and frustration. Cancer is difficult enough, let a private patient advocate help you along the way; so that you have more time to relax and carry out the things in life that you enjoy.