11 Important Steps in Addressing a Cancer Diagnosis
When a doctor diagnoses that you have cancer, it’s not something that’s easy to deal with. Feelings of shock, fear, and anxiety are bound to occur. If you’re confused and don’t know what to do, here are some tips to deal with it.
What to do After Being Diagnosed With Cancer?
When you’re first diagnosed, take a moment to process all the information received. The reason is, various kinds of emotions can arise when the doctor says you have cancer.
Once you feel calm enough, you can start thinking about what steps to take. Here are some tips for dealing with a cancer diagnosis, including:
1. Learn About Diagnosis
It is important to understand the specific type of cancer you have and the treatment options. This information will make it easier to make decisions about the treatment plan being undertaken.
You can write down a list of questions you want to know and ask the doctor who provides treatment. Some questions that can be asked include:
- What type of cancer do I have?
- Where is the cancer located?
- Can the cancer in my body be cured?
- What is the percent chance that this cancer can be cured?
- What procedure do I need next?
- What are the treatment options that I can live with?
- What are the benefits of treatment for me?
- What will happen during treatment?
- What are the side effects of treatment?
- When should I get treatment at the hospital?
- What can I do to prevent this cancer from coming back?
- What will happen if I don’t take treatment?
During a visit or consultation with a doctor, you should invite a family member or friend. This step can help you remember consultation sessions that have already taken place.
There is no clear benchmark for how detailed the information you should know. Some people prefer to know every fact, but some other people prefer to leave everything to the treating doctor.
Also Read: Cancer Immunotherapy: How it Works, Types, Benefits, and Side Effects
2. Seeking a Second Opinion
Facing a cancer diagnosis is not easy. Therefore, the opinion of another doctor is needed to help understand the situation and provide better control.
Cancer treatment takes time and is a long process, so it is important to find a doctor and treatment team you can trust.
You can look for an oncologist who specializes in treating cancer or a doctor with other specialties according to the location of the cancer.
3. Determine Treatment
Once you know the type of cancer, the severity of the cancer, and the side effects of treatment, you can start treatment.
Convince and prepare yourself to undergo a series of treatments. During treatment, you may experience side effects.
4. Anticipate Physical Changes
Another important thing to consider when dealing with a cancer diagnosis is anticipating physical changes. You can ask your doctor about the physical changes that can occur.
Of note, some medications will cause you to lose your hair, have persistent nausea, and affect your daily life. You may also need to spend some time in the hospital so that your daily activities can be disrupted.
Therefore, prepare for the transfer of responsibility for tasks that are usually done. In addition, it is also important to start planning finances before starting treatment.
Also Read: Positive Thinking and Its Relation to Successful Cancer Treatment
5. Seek Support from Friends and Family
Support from those closest to you might help you deal with a cancer diagnosis. The reason is, this condition may cause stress.
Ask for support from family members, friends, partners, especially people who care for you. Let them help with preparing food, cleaning the house, and accompanying you on visits to the doctor.
So, don’t hesitate to ask for help in this difficult time.
6. Handle Stigma Well
Some stigma or negative views about this disease are easy to find in society. Therefore, so that you are not ‘surprised’ to find the response of people around you to cancer, deal with this stigma well.
For example, a co-worker suddenly avoids you for fear that this disease will spread. You can provide an understanding that this condition should not make them afraid to be around you.
7. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle can increase energy levels. Having this lifestyle can help you deal with stress and fatigue from cancer treatment.
If possible, you can have a daily routine such as exercising every day, getting enough sleep, and eating healthy foods. Regular exercise can help reduce the side effects of medication.
8. Talk to other cancer survivors
People who have cancer can understand how you feel better. Not only sharing experiences, talking with other cancer sufferers can also help deal with a cancer diagnosis.
You can talk to family or friends who have had cancer or other serious illnesses. Apart from that, you can also look for online/offline communities of cancer sufferers in your area.
9. Take Care of Yourself
While undergoing cancer treatment, it is important to manage stress well. A calm body or low stress levels, can increase appetite, relieve insomnia, and fight fatigue during treatment.
Some activities you can do, for example reading books, listening to music, watching your favorite movies, and doing a series of other hobbies.
Also Read: 5 Types of Cancer That Makes You Constantly Nosebleed
10. Control Emotions Well
How to deal with when you are diagnosed with cancer will be different for each person. Therefore, it is important to find your own way.
You can control your emotions when diagnosed with cancer in various ways, such as:
- Relaxation exercise.
- Share your feelings with trusted people, such as family or friends. If necessary, you can consult a psychologist or psychiatrist.
- Keep a journal to help you express your thoughts and feelings.
- Get spiritual support.
- Make time for me-time.
- Manage work time and relaxation activities well.
- Don’t be afraid to say no.
11. Reevaluate Your Life Purpose
Another thing that should not go unnoticed when diagnosed with cancer is to re-evaluate your life goals. Find out what’s really important in life.
Once you realize this, take time to engage in activities that are important and meaningful to you. Of course, the activities undertaken must be in accordance with the purpose of life.
NowThose are some tips for dealing with a cancer diagnosis that are important to know. Cancer is a serious disease that needs special treatment. The long treatment process and continuous doctor consultations may tire you.
Even so, don’t forget to keep doing the activities you like and hanging out with the people you love. Keep it up!
- Anonymous. 2018. Questions to Ask Your Health Care Team. https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/diagnosing-cancer/questions-ask-your-health-care-team. (Accessed 21 February 2023).
- Anonymous. 2019. When the Doctor Says “Cancer”. https://www.cancer.net/navigating-cancer-care/diagnosing-cancer/. (Accessed 21 February 2023).
- Anonymous. Cancer Diagnosis: 11 Tips for Coping. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer-diagnosis/art-20044544. (Accessed 21 February 2023).
- Helmer, Jodi. 2022. You’ve Been Told You Have Cancer. Now What?. https://www.webmd.com/cancer/cancer-diagnosis-next-steps. (Accessed 21 February 2023).
- Robinson, Kiara Mayer. 2019. You’ve Been Told You Have Cancer. Now What?. https://www.webmd.com/cancer/features/cancer-diagnosis. (Accessed 21 February 2023).
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