- Posted by jdavis on August 1, 2011
A diagnosis of cancer can be extremely challenging. Remember that no matter what your concerns or prognosis, you’re not alone. Here are some strategies and resources that may make dealing with cancer easier:
Know what to expect. Find out everything you can about your cancer – the type, stage, your treatment options and their side effects. The more you know, the more active you can be in your own care.
In addition to talking with your doctor, look for information in your local library and on the Internet. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will answer questions from the public. You can reach NCI at 800-4-CANCER, or 800-422-6237.
Be proactive. Although you may feel tired and discouraged, don’t let others – including your family or your doctor – make important decisions for you. It’s vital that you take an active role in your treatment.
Maintain a strong support system. Having a support system can help you cope with any issues, pain and anxieties that might occur. Although friends and family can be your best allies, they may sometimes have trouble dealing with your illness.
If so, the concern and understanding of a formal support group or others coping with cancer can be especially helpful. Although support groups aren’t for everyone, they can be a good source for practical information. You may also find you develop deep and lasting bonds with people who are going through the same things you are.
Set reasonable goals. Having goals may help you feel in control and can give you a sense of purpose. But don’t choose goals you can’t possibly reach. You may not be able work a 40-hour week, for example, but you may be able work at least half time. In fact, many people find that continuing to work can be helpful.
Take time for yourself. Eating well, relaxing and getting enough rest can help combat the stress and fatigue of cancer. Also, plan ahead for the downtimes, when you may need to rest more or limit what you do.
Stay active. Receiving a diagnosis of cancer doesn’t mean you have to stop doing the things you enjoy or normally do. For the most part, if you feel well enough to do something, go ahead and do it. It’s important to stay involved as much as you can.
Look for a connection to something beyond yourself. Having a strong faith or a sense of something greater than yourself may help you successfully cope with cancer.