Often, the hardest part of screening and testing isn’t undergoing the tests themselves, but waiting for results to come back. If you’re like most people, you will want your test results as soon as possible. With an emergency or just before a chemotherapy treatment, test results generally come back quickly. But when your doctor orders a non-emergency test — which most breast-cancer-related tests are — the lab or radiology department may not send the results back as quickly. Your doctor isn’t likely to know when the test actually gets done or if the results are available until the report comes into the office 3 to 7 days later. Meanwhile, you may think that your doctor has the results and isn’t getting back to you.
Although there is no way to make test results come back any faster, there are steps you can take to feel more in control of the process. Simply asking about when to expect results and making arrangements with your doctor to get them can go a long way toward reducing anxiety. Another good way of taking control is to keep copies of all your test results in one place. That way, you’ll always have them in hand if you need to share the information with another doctor or refer to it yourself.
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