According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 1.5 million men and women in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Dealing with a cancer diagnosis may be an uneasy, stressful and even traumatic time. The most important question you can ask yourself is what do I do next? There are many steps you can take to move forward from your diagnosis. Here are a few that may guide your way in case you are in this difficult situation.
Have a close friend or family member with you. High-stress situations like cancer diagnosis can cause a spike in emotions, foggy memory, lapse in concentration, fainting, as well as increased heart rate. Bringing a loved one along to your diagnosis not only helps to aid in comforting you through the hardship, but an extra set of ears can remember vital information in the event you weren’t able to.
Truly understand your diagnosis. Try to really learn everything there is to know about that particular cancer you’re afflicted with: how large it is now, will it spread, will it not spread, is it treatable, if so, how can it be treated, etc. Staying informed will help you have a better understanding of how to cope with living with cancer, as well as how to properly and effectively combat it.
Seek a second opinion from an oncologist. It is an acceptable practice to seek a second opinion from an oncologist or cancer specialist. You may discover something in the second opinion that wasn’t found the first time around. Since staying informed is a healthy step to your cancer diagnosis, an oncologist may be very resourceful in evaluating you and providing an expert opinion. After seeking a second opinion, make sure you find the right doctor for you–someone who is patient, attentive and understanding, and who will keep your best interest in mind. For a list of oncologists associated with Aventura Hospital and Medical Center, check out our Find A Physician tool.
Discuss many different treatment options. Treatment for cancer is constantly changing due to incredible strides in medicine, oncology, and technology. Be sure to discuss all of the treatment options available to you for your condition. Make sure you understand all of the side effects for every treatment, as well as the goal of what that particular treatment will accomplish.
Keep an on-going journal of your experience. This is a healthy way to keep track of your thoughts and emotions during the treatment of cancer. You may look back later on and notice various stages of improvement and breakthroughs you’ve accomplished while undergoing treatment.
While dealing with cancer diagnosis isn’t easy, there are many ways to not only cope with your condition but also treat it properly, maintain emotional health and seek support from loved ones. For more information on what to do after a cancer diagnosis, or to seek a second opinion, please visit the Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center.