New Cancer Diagnosis
Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is a life-changing event setting you on an unexpected journey. As you begin your journey, consider the following proactive actions to help set you up for success:
- Take several deep breaths and try not to panic. Many cancers are treatable, so try and stay positive until you know all you can about your diagnosis
- Try relaxation techniques that have worked for you in the past, or try new techniques
- Avoid researching on the internet UNTIL you have spoken with the specialist (and received confirmation of the cancer diagnosis and staging information). It is important to note that each cancer, and each person, is unique and timing of diagnosis/staging is important
- As you move beyond the initial shock to begin your journey of surviving your cancer, you must make a commitment to yourself that you will be in control of your fight with cancer
- Bring an advocate with you (family, friend, or paid advocate) during the planning sessions with your physician(s) to take notes
- Understand your insurance benefit design (what is and not covered) to help you make decisions - also ask to be assigned a case manager
- Consider seeking a second (or third) opinion, so you fully understand your treatment options
- Organize your thoughts and be prepared for your doctor's appointments and bring a list of questions with you to your physician visits
- Bring a list of medications and herbal supplements to a physician visit
- Do not begin a treatment regimen without fully understanding its the benefits and risks
- Ask for copies of all of your diagnostic tests (including all x-rays, scans, pathology reports, lab tests) as you begin to organize your treatment organizer/file
- Make sure you have a good working relationship with your medical team: Are you receiving the answers to your questions? Does your physician understand your cultural values, wishes and needs/wants? Do you feel heard?
Consider hiring Beacon Oncology Nurse Advocates if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Has your cancer diagnosis left you feeling fearful, worried and unsure?
- Do you feel lost in the complexities of the healthcare maze?
- Do you need help making sense of the many available treatments and alternative approaches?
- Are you feeling anxious trying to process complex medical terms and large amounts of information provided by your medical provider?
- Could you use assistance preparing for your physician visits, thinking through questions that are important to you?
- Do you want peace of mind knowing that you have been empowered to make informed decisions regarding your cancer care?
"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have."
- Cayla Mills