After being diagnosed with cancer, the best way to start your recovery is being prepared.
According to NHS statistics, every two minutes someone in the UK is diagnosed with cancer.
For a large proportion of people, being told that they have cancer is one of their biggest fears so it’s understandable that this is a moment that most people dread. However, while this is an incredibly emotional time, when it can feel as if the ground is going from underneath your feet, it’s also a time when you need to be practical too. According to Cancer Research UK, cancer survival rates have doubled over the past 40 years. 50% of all cancers are now survivable and 78% of patients with breast cancer and 57% of patients with bowel cancer will survive for over 10 years. A cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean what it used to, thanks to modern medicine. To deal with, and fight your cancer, you will need to have a plan.
Make sure you get all the information
It is often a good idea to take someone with you when you go for the appointment, ask him or her to take notes as you may find you’re not able to take everything in. Ask your doctor for as much information as possible; from the day-to-day effects of the treatment, to the timetable over a period of years or months. Ask about the cancer itself – how advanced is it, how big is it, exactly what type is it, where did it start and how has it spread?
Not only will being organised give you a flying start when it comes to fighting your cancer, but it will also take away the feeling of powerlessness that often accompanies a cancer diagnosis. Buy a notebook and a binder to keep all your information in, draw up a schedule for your treatment and keep a list of questions you want to ask the doctor at your next visit. Find some local support groups and research how others have dealt with what you have.
Understand your treatment
Sadly, it is true that cancer treatments have side effects, and while the treatments are doing the job of fighting the cancer, you’re going to need to cope with those side effects. Find out what these are likely to be, from hair loss through to sickness, and research the best ways to cope with these. It may be, that you need to call on friends or family for help at certain times, or you may have to get some professional support or schedule time off work – working out what you need now will mean you are prepared once the treatment starts and it will feel less overwhelming and easier to cope.
A cancer diagnosis might feel frightening and overwhelming at first, however, there are simple steps you can take to gradually get back some of the control and start fighting.