By Laura Bourdeanu, NP, PhD
Finding out that you have just been diagnosed with cancer is a scary prospect, and one that millions of people go through every single year (14 millions in 2016 worldwide). Cancer brings drastic changes in your life and the lives of your loved ones, and it is normal to have questions about the treatment and diagnosis of cancer. That is why we have decided to tell you about the seven most important things you should do after your cancer diagnosis. We hope that the information provided to you will help you and your family to work through any fears and concerns that you have about your cancer and cancer treatment.
IMPORTANT: This information isn’t meant to replace the advice of your doctor. It is best to keep talking with your doctor and work together to understand your cancer and the best cancer treatment for you.
The first thing you need to do is learn that cancer isn’t just a single disease. There are different kinds and types of cancer, which can start in different parts of the body. Cancer can start in the blood, the lungs, the breasts, and even the colon. Cancers are generally similar in most ways, but they are worlds apart in how they grow and spread in your body.
Cancer can affect any person irrespective of race or ethnicity, and nearly half of men and women in the United States will get cancer during their lifetime. So if you have just found out that you have been diagnosed with cancer; don’t lose hope, and follow these 7 steps.
Learning about the type and kind of cancer you have can help you cope much better with the disease. People have found that by having complete information about their cancer, they have more control over what’s happening in their body. There are different types of cancer and there are different stages of cancer, so learning about your cancer will help you better understand the disease and the best way to fight it.
Finding out that you have cancer is a life-changing moment, and it can drain the entire strength out of you. At times like that it is best to find social support so that you have someone to rely on, since it is very difficult for one person to fight cancer all by themselves. You should widen your circle of support and reach out to friends and family or reach out to a support organization. You will also feel more relaxed having someone you trust go with you to all your appointments.
Absorbing all the information regarding your cancer diagnosis is going to be hard for you, and impossible to remember all of it. So it is best to buy a notebook that is designated solely to your cancer. You can make a list of questions before your doctor appointments, and note down all the answers for reviewing them later on. This will ensure that you are able to keep track of your cancer and also make it easier for you to absorb all the details of your cancer treatment. Make sure that you write down at least 3 questions before each visit to your doctor, as the more you learn about your cancer, the easier it will be for you to cope with it.
Getting organized after a diagnosis of cancer will help you gain a sense of control over your situation. Think about the important things in your life before cancer, such as being parent, your home, your job. Because you will be inundated with appointments and all things cancer, the best way to get through it is to make a list of chores that you do in each category, and do them as time allows or delegate them to a loved one. Also, get a calendar. Your new life will include doctor’s appointments, treatment appointments, physical therapy appointments, and so on. Having these in a calendar will contribute to a sense of order as you move forward and help create a feeling of balance and control during chaotic times. Lastly, keep a “cancer” folder in your file cabinet. This folder should have your test results, insurance information, medical records, and list of medications.
It may be difficult to be hopeful, but you should focus on things that you can control, instead of worrying about things you can’t control. Keep things normal in your daily life, such as planning work, childcare, or take part in daily activities for the duration of your treatment.
In order to be certain about you are receiving the correct treatment you can also enquire about second opinions. There are multiple options for people who want to confirm their treatment. These options include going to another hospital with different doctors, or going to online websites to confirm the treatment. Websites such as WebMD or Cancer.Net have lots of general and accurate information including peer reviewed articles on cancer.
OncoGambit.com is a great website that is recommended to every person that wants to confirm their cancer diagnosis. The website has accurate information about cancer that has been approved by over 1000+ cancer experts.
In order to cope with cancer, you should learn to express your feelings. Most people believe that expressing their anger, sadness and fear after learning about their cancer diagnosis is a sign of weakness, but it is the opposite. It is hard to express powerful emotions, and hiding your feelings will only make it difficult for you to deal with your cancer.
If you’re not used to sharing your experiences, you should join patient support groups, where you can talk with others going through the same experience and express your feelings openly. It will help you cope and fight your cancer.
In order to keep your mind clear and your body active, you should start exercising or continue following your normal exercise routine. However, make sure that you clear this out with your doctor first. Exercise can help you feel better and will keep you focused, and following a mild exercise program that involves swimming, walking, yoga, or stretching will do wonders to help you fight cancer. Exercising regularly will also keep you from following into lethargy and will help keep depressing thoughts away. It is best to remain active and pursue positive activities when diagnosed with cancer. Food can significantly affect your mood, therefore you should try to eat a nutritious diet that includes raw cheese, wild caught salmon, eggs, grass-fed beef, organic poultry, spinach, sunflower seeds, dried herbs, pineapple, turkey, and goat’s milk kefir.
So there you have it, the 7 things you should do after “You have cancer” diagnosis.