Focus on you

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Advice from survivors

Who better to guide people diagnosed with breast cancer than those who have walked the path? The following is advice for those recently diagnosed with breast cancer from women who have received the diagnosis. Submissions have been edited for clarity and brevity. Read more at www.columbian.com/news/health/breast-cancer.

One of the most important things to know is that your experience is as unique as you are. Your journey will be different than everyone else’s journey.

Your emotions will be on overdrive so do your best to let them out and don’t suppress them.

Educate yourself through your medical team and study up, but be choosy where you get your information on the internet. Stick to sites such as American Cancer Society, BreastCancer.org, National Cancer Institute.

Build a relationship with your medical team. They are your partners. Make sure they understand your goals. Follow your doctors’ instructions to the letter.

You will get lots of information in the early days so take notes, lots of notes, and prepare for all of your doctor appointments and write down your questions. Take your spouse or a trusted friend or relative to every doctor appointment.

Access your support system and ask people for help (they really do want to help), and let them help you.

Access resources that are available to you. Start with a social worker (a lot of times they are attached to your oncologist office) or your nurse navigator. Ask them about local mentors and support groups.

Move your body — walking is great therapy! But remember, there is a time to rest as well.

Eat well by feeding your body the best possible nutrition you can.

This is a time when you need to focus on you.

— Carolyn Rerick of Vancouver.

Diagnosed with Stage 1A estrogen- and progesterone-receptor-positive breast cancer in 2014 at age 49.