There's no easy way to say it: being diagnosed with cancer is terrifying. As well as the obvious fear of mortality, cancer sufferers are faced with an almost unending supply of decisions to make and information to digest, particularly when it comes to cancer treatments.
It's only normal to be frightened and confused, especially when you're unsure of the next step. To give you a helping hand in understanding what to do next, here are some actions you should think about soon after diagnosis.
Coming to terms with the very fact that you have cancer by yourself is a tough ask. As humans we simply do not have the emotional capacity to endure such a shock to the system, so it's important to share the burden with a caring person or persons. Who you tell is up to you. It can be family, friends, colleagues, or even a support group. In many ways it doesn't matter who knows, just as long as they are willing, and able, to help. However, it is recommended that you tell those loved ones closest to you. Feigning good health and calmness in itself is a tough task and can lead to further physical and mental problems.
Talk to Your Doctor
Once diagnosed with cancer, you need to know what your next step is going to be. To establish this it's important that you talk to your doctor, or any other medical specialists assigned to your case. These are the people that will walk you through the cancer treatments that you'll undertake. They can also explain any potential side effects, risks and future possibilities you may be faced with. Seeking a second opinion, both in terms of your diagnosis and any future cancer treatments is also a perfectly acceptable, not to mention logical, thing to do.
Take the Time to Understand Cancer
One of the best ways to cope with cancer is to understand it. There is a large group of people out there that can help you to understand cancer as a disease as well as the many cancer treatments available. This starts with your personal doctor (see above) and goes on to include cancer surgeons and specialists, nurses, patient advocates, and support and charity groups.
It's also worth remembering that friends, family and colleagues may have experienced what you're going through, and therefore can offer invaluable advice. Of course, the 21st Century's greatest research tool, the internet, can be of use. Be sure to check the validity and reputation of any website you visit so you know what you're reading is accurate and insightful. As well as official websites linked in to cancer charities and well-regarded medical sites, websites like include useful information that may be of assistance to you.
As morbid as it sounds, once you've been diagnosed with cancer it's time to create or update a last will and testament. While many cancers today are far from incurable, any cancer sufferer faces at least a small chance that they may die as a result of the disease. Being prepared for such an eventuality is absolutely vital, particularly if you have the welfare of children to think about.
As well as preparing a will, there will be a great deal of other arrangements to be made, some massive and some not so important. Firstly, when it comes to your cancer treatments, who is there to support you with the likes of transport to and from operations and respite care? You will need at least one person, and more likely a small team of people, to help you on your way.
Other arrangements to be considered include:
There will be a wealth of other actions, duties and events to arrange, so you might find making a list very useful.
Try to Remain Positive
Diagnosed With Cancer What to Do Next?It may be easier said than done, but a positive outlook will make tackling decisions, cancer treatments and the disease itself that much easier. It's also vital to maintaining a stable mental health. Remember as well, you may have been diagnosed with cancer, but you still have plenty to fight for and the odds are most likely in your favor.