7 Steps You Should Take After a Cancer Diagnosis
posted by Oncology Team | October 11, 2016
In the U.S., about 14 million people are living with cancer, grappling with worries about treatment and uncertainty about their health and their future. Being diagnosed with cancer can quickly turn your world upside down, and knowing what to do next can be difficult. These seven steps can provide you with the framework you need to take control of your care and feel more confident about the decisions you make.
Be sure you know the specific diagnosis and stage of your cancer as well as whether or not it’s spread or may spread to other areas. Also be sure to ask how much time you have to decide about your care. Some cancers are very aggressive while others exhibit slower growth, allowing patients to have some time to do some research and consult with other specialists.
Cancer diagnosis can raise lots of questions, many of which occur outside the doctor’s office. Jotting down questions as they occur ensures you won’t forget to ask your doctor during your next appointment, and it can also help you and your treatment provider understand more about your own worries, values and expectations during treatment. Not sure what to ask? The National Cancer Institute offers a comprehensive list of questions you should ask about your diagnosis and treatment.
Being diagnosed with cancer can be overwhelming and it’s easy to be distracted. Having a loved one with you during appointments means there’s someone else to listen and take notes as well as someone to discuss things with afterward.
Cancer treatment can vary substantially based on the type of cancer, the stage of the disease, your overall health and other factors. While radiation, chemotherapy and surgery remain at the forefront of most treatment plans, there may be other options as well. Ask your doctor to review all possible courses of therapy so you can make an educated decision about your care and understand why specific recommendations are being made. Also ask about the potential risks of available treatments as well as whether or not there are any ongoing clinical trials that might be beneficial.
Many patients are nervous about asking for a second opinion because they’re concerned their doctors may be insulted. Remember: This is your health and your diagnosis, and getting a second opinion is a smart move – and one your doctor should be happy to support.
Most cancer treatment centers have financial counselors on hand who can help you understand your insurance coverage, including copays, deductibles and other costs you may have to pay out of pocket. While the cost of care can still be stressful, knowing about these costs ahead of time can help reduce that stress by eliminating unwelcome surprises.
Cancer doesn’t just take a physical toll – it has a huge emotional impact as well, resulting in significant stress and fear. Having a support network in place can play a pivotal role in helping you cope. Many cancer centers offer patient and family support groups to help patients and their families learn to cope during what can be a very difficult and emotionally draining time.
Revere Health offers cancer patients the personalized attention, compassionate support and cutting-edge care options they need to feel empowered about their treatment. To find out more about Revere Health Cancer Center and how we can help you achieve the best outcome following your cancer diagnosis, schedule a consultation today.
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.