The following resource guides offer tips on developing a strategy for managing the illness, asking the right questions of physicians and getting the right professional and personal support.
Focus on lifestyle changes: the only thing that you can control is what you eat, what you drink and how you move. Explore healthy diets, exercise and alternative therapies such as massage, yoga and meditation to boost and maintain your physical and emotional well-being. But check with your Doctor before embarking on any of the above.
Create a support system: Nobody understands you quite like another cancer survivor, there is incredible strength in that.
Live! don’t wait for permission to live. Just because you have cancer does not mean that your life is over, start living. It’s that simple.
Studies show that cancer (and other) patients who arm themselves with information typically fare better and experience fewer side effects than those who simply follow doctors’ orders, no questions asked. Being informed gives them some control over their disease—and that feeling of empowerment plays a role in the healing process. No. 1 rule: do not be cowed by your doctor. Ask him or her to explain anything and everything you don’t understand. Prepare questions in advance of appointments (to reduce stress and the odds of forgetting any)—and bring a notebook to jot down answers and other important info. Below are some questions you should ask-
What causes this type of cancer?
What are the risk factors?
If it’s genetic, are other family members at risk?
What lifestyle changes (diet, exercise, rest) do you recommend?
What are my treatment options?
Are there activities that should be avoided because they might trigger or
What happens if new symptoms crop up or existing ones worsen?
What medical tests or procedures are necessary? How often?
What stage is my cancer? What does that mean?
What is my overall prognosis or chance of recovery?
What are the average survival and cure rates?
Could my disease go into remission?
What is the recommended treatment?
How often will I have to undergo treatment—and for how long?
What are the potential side effects?
What are the benefits versus the risks of each treatment option?
Are there alternative therapies? What are they?
What are the expected results of treatment?
Is the treatment painful? If so, is there a way to make it more bearable?
How long is the recovery? Will it require a hospital stay?
When can I resume my normal activity (if it’s been curtailed)?
Has my cancer spread? If so, how does this change treatment decisions?
Where can I find emotional, psychological and support?
Whom should I call with questions or concerns after office hours?
May I contact you or a nurse if I have questions or more symptoms?