The way forward: Nine things to do after a cancer diagnosis

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Hearing about cancer is devastating and life-altering news for anyone. You might not be able to process it in your mind, feel numb and hopeless. You might stay in shock for quite some time without knowing what to do next. No matter the circumstances in which you get the news, it is common to feel overwhelmed. Because learning about cancer is unlike any other shocking information. It is like getting an update on how long you will live.

The news of cancer is shocking for the patient’s family as well. The patient can be a brother, a father, a husband, or the sole breadwinner of the house. However, a person has to come out of despair and shock and think about their life ahead. So, if you or your relative has been diagnosed with cancer, here is what needs to be done.  

  1. Discuss with your doctor

The first thing you do is talk to your doctor about your cancer. Usually, cancer has multiple stages, so the earlier stages are easier to cure and have a longer life expectancy than the later ones. Therefore, talk to the oncologist and know the cancer stage, growth trajectory, and prognosis. Moreover, you also need to know the type and location of your cancer and the possible treatments. Most importantly, don’t forget to ask the oncologist how much time you have to decide on the treatment.

  • Think about taking a legal action

If occupational hazards are amongst the causes of your cancer, you can take legal action. For instance, you can file for mesothelioma compensation after a diagnosis because it occurs due to a person’s exposure to a harmful mineral called asbestos. You will need an attorney specializing in mesothelioma lawsuits to take steps according to their guidance.

  • Get a second opinion

Cancer news is so distressing that you might not believe the specialist; hence, you may want to get a second opinion. Additionally, if you are thinking about legal action in the case of industrial cancer, a second opinion becomes even more important to gather more proves of your medical condition. Even good doctors recommend you to have a second opinion; this is their way of preparing you for the upcoming events. With a second opinion, a person also feels more in control of their situation. Try to go to a different oncologist in a different hospital for a second opinion.

  • Conduct a deep research

After the second opinion, you might know more about your situation. Now is the time to conduct your research, learn about your cancer and what your doctor has told you. Find out how it started and how you should move forward, what traditional and advanced treatments are available, and the chances of cure at your stage. With all this information, you will be able to communicate with your doctor in a better way

  • Maintain open communication with your family

Your family and loved ones’ support is significant for you at this juncture of your life. Therefore, talk to them, tell them about your situation, and maintain open communication. If people around you try to protect you from bad news or the things happening in their life, you may feel isolated. The same goes for your family, you may think you can protect them by not telling them about your situation, but this does not work with cancer. People may suspect that something wrong is going on in your life. You can get your friends and family on one page and get the necessary emotional support by telling them the truth.

Moreover, always take someone from your family during your appointments with doctors to take notes, and ask questions. They can also remind you about various details in case you forget. Besides, this way, your family will also know the progress in your treatment.

  • Decide the possible treatments

There are various treatments available for cancer now. However, doctors consider the patient’s wishes when they decide on treatment. Similarly, every patient has a different goal to achieve from the treatment. Some people prefer an aggressive treatment even if it results in minor side effects; others want to live their remaining life comfortably.

In either case, patients must communicate their concerns with the doctors, including their treatment preferences. However, before you start discussing with your doctor, make sure to have some basic understanding of the treatments and their pros and cons.

  • Develop your help network

Cancer can surely take a toll on your health with painful treatments and plenty of medications. The most common response to cancer is feeling tired all the time. Therefore, you may not be able to carry out your daily chores like taking care of kids, taking them to school, doing their laundry, going to your doctor for your appointments. Having a support group can help you with all these tasks. Seek the help of your friends and family to help you go through this period.

  • Join a support group

There are many cancer support gatherings at various places; you may find one near your house as well. Here you meet people who have the same condition as you. So, they may understand your situation and what you are going through much better than others. These care groups are an excellent way to help each other emotionally by giving and taking advice.

  • Uphold a healthy lifestyle

Your lifestyle plays a vital role in recovering from any disease. Choosing the proper diet, adding some physical activity, meeting your loved ones, and taking a lot of rest are ways to develop a healthy lifestyle. Recent studies have shown that cancer patients who add healthy physical activities to their treatment regime can better cope with their illness. 

Conclusion

A cancer diagnosis is devastating for everyone, regardless of age and gender. The news can be so overwhelming that it can cripple your ability to think straight. But regardless, you have to come out of this phase and think about your life ahead. You have to gather yourself to talk about your disease, start your treatment and take help from your loved ones. The way to beat cancer is to have the emotional strength and will to live a healthier, longer life.