Friday, December 9, 2022

Things to do Following a Cancer Diagnosis

 The word cancer is a looming one. It means different things to different people based on life experiences. You have probably known someone who has undergone treatment for cancer. It can be a scary diagnosis, but one thing you can do about it is to take control of what you do next. Do your best to learn and understand what resources are available to you so you can begin your next journey in life.

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Learn About Your Type of Cancer

One of the first things you should do after a cancer diagnosis is learn more about your specific type of cancer. Ask your medical providers for as much information as they can provide. When something is unclear, request clarification. Remember, it is ok to ask more and receive the care you deserve.

Some helpful questions to ask may include:

  • What is the survival rate for this particular type of cancer, such as the mesothelioma survival rate?

  • When will treatment begin?

  • What does treatment entail? Can you please write that information down so I can refer to it later?

  • Will this information be available in my online chart?

  • Who will oversee my care?

  • How long will treatment last in terms of the length of individual treatments and the entire course of treatment?

  • If you or your loved one had this diagnosis, what would you like to know?

Watch this video for three recommended questions you should ask your doctor after a diagnosis.

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Surround Yourself With Supportive People

When you are going through cancer, it is an experience in and of itself. It can take on a life of its own with all the terminology, appointments, coordination, and requirements. You may be more than capable of handling what life throws at you and supporting others, but for this journey, it is important to align yourself with supportive people.

Those people may be family and friends willing and able to drive you to and from appointments. They can sit with you and listen, or just distract you without offering unwanted information or sympathy. Often, these moments are too overwhelming for family members, especially if they are caregivers for others already. 

If that is true in your life, give them some space to work through everything themselves. You do not need to be a shoulder to cry on right now. You need a sturdy arm for support. Instead, seek people who have the time and emotional availability to be your support system. Ask them to take turns instead of relying on one person. That will give everyone, including you, a much-needed break.

Find a Support Group

One of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health is to join a support group geared towards those going through cancer treatment or who are on a journey of survival. You can travel the path together and understand where you are proverbially coming from. 

When you have a shared experience such as a cancer diagnosis, you can better relate to other survivors. You will feel comfortable letting out your feelings. Being with people for weekly support meetings is a chance to step out of your routine.

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Receiving a medical diagnosis that you do not want is never a happy moment in your life. What it can be, however, is a catalyst. Take your cancer diagnosis head-on and find the resources you need and deserve to keep going.

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