Find a Doctor Find a Doctor
Time to see a specialist? Time to see a specialist?
We found [COUNT] Specialists
who treat [INTEREST]
We found [COUNT] Specialists
who treat [INTEREST]
[TELEHEALTH] offer Telehealth options.
Treating Breast Cancer Early

This content is created by Healthgrades and brought to you by an advertising sponsor. More

This content is created or selected by the Healthgrades editorial team and is funded by an advertising sponsor. The content is subject to the Healthgrades medical review process for accuracy, balance and objectivity. The content is not edited or otherwise influenced by the advertisers appearing on this page except with the possible suggestion of the broad topic area. For more information, read the Healthgrades advertising policy.

Getting Organized During Breast Cancer: Keeping Track of the Details

Medically Reviewed By Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI

As I walked out of my breast cancer appointment after receiving my diagnosis, my head was swirling, and my hands were full of paperwork. I was overwhelmed and shocked. My friend and I sat in the waiting room and began sorting through the paperwork to start getting organized.

I was still feeling overwhelmed, but forming a plan for what I could do now and what I needed to do later helped.

After-appointment details: Handle them right away

When we leave our breast cancer appointments, we often need to follow up on several things to keep our treatment progressing. We might need to schedule more imaging, go to the lab for bloodwork, or make a follow-up appointment with our doctor.

I quickly discovered that it was easiest to take care of these details before I left the medical office. If I needed to make another appointment, I asked the scheduler to set that up right away. If the lab was still open, I would get the bloodwork done while still there. 

Often, I would sit in the waiting room and look over my notes from the appointment before I got in the car to drive home. I would circle the things I couldn’t do right away and either put an event on my calendar or schedule a reminder on my phone to take care of them. I knew I would forget those details once I left the office.

At-home organization: Paperwork

Once I got home, it was time to continue organizing. Any paperwork I received from the doctor was put into my breast cancer file folder. This file came with me to each appointment. Whenever I needed to pull up my notes from a previous visit, they were there in the folder. To this day, if I need to review my pathology report from surgery, I know where to look.

This breast cancer file folder lived in my file drawer, right at the front. Every time I had an appointment or needed to make a phone call about breast cancer, I would pull out the file and have all the information I needed right there at my fingertips. Then, when I was done dealing with the breast cancer details, I put it away.

Closing that file drawer and putting the breast cancer paperwork away was important to my mental well-being during breast cancer. It gave me a way to put breast cancer away, even if only for a few minutes, and then focus on something else in my day. And it also meant that my beagles wouldn’t grab the pathology report off my desk and chew it up!

Online organization: Portals

Many of our medical records are available through our online portals. These portals are excellent for tracking and scheduling appointments, sending messages to our medical team, and paying our bills.

I recommend setting up access to your online portal through your phone and home computer. Many medical portals offer phone apps to make it convenient for you to access your medical information on the go.

Once you log in to your app, make sure you are comfortable with all of the notifications it can send you. If you would like to be notified immediately of test results and bills, you can allow it to send push notifications. If you don’t want to be alerted to that information in real time, turn that feature off.

Sometimes, I want to be alerted to the latest information in my chart; other times, I don’t. It depends on what I’m waiting for. There is no one right or wrong way to be notified. Pick what works for you at the time.

I also use the portal app to put the appointments on my calendar. This feature is convenient because it can also populate the location of the medical office into the calendar event. I learned about this feature when I accidentally showed up to my physical a day late. Save yourself this embarrassment and consider using the “add to calendar” feature.

My medical portal also helps me connect directly with my doctor through the messaging feature. When I have a quick question, I reach out to my medical team. Recently, some medical groups have started charging fees for this feature, so make sure you know your group’s policy before sending a detailed medical question over the app. 

Organizing the details of my breast cancer treatment is easier when I use the online portal to access the information I need and make sure I’m showing up to my appointments on the right day!

Organizing our calendars: Preferred appointment dates and times

When we are newly diagnosed, we have many appointments to schedule, and we want them done right away. We will often take the first available appointments to move our treatment along as quickly as possible. 

After this newly diagnosed phase, we can better organize our medical appointments to fit into our lives. When I was in the middle of cancer diagnosis and treatment, I was also supervising our sons’ virtual school lessons at home. I realized it was easier to schedule my appointments in the afternoon after the boys were done with school. 

This made it easy to get the essential things done in my day before heading out to my latest medical appointment. Picking a preferred appointment day and time simplifies scheduling and helps us fit our treatments into our lives. 

Getting organized with our paperwork, online portals, and calendars can help us manage all of the details that come with being a breast cancer patient. I still felt overwhelmed and anxious at times, but knowing my next tasks helped me proceed one step at a time.

Was this helpful?
Medical Reviewer: Debra Sullivan, Ph.D., MSN, R.N., CNE, COI
Last Review Date: 2024 Mar 29
View All Treating Breast Cancer Early Articles
THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.