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Cancer Support: Coping With Cancer Treatments - Topic Overview

"At first, I couldn't think of anything except how scared I was to have cancer. But as soon as I started asking questions about chemotherapy and learning how to take care of myself, I felt a little less afraid. The doctors and staff were great about answering all of my questions."—Earl, 66

"When I started chemotherapy, I also enrolled in a yoga class. It was something I wanted to do just for me. It let me forget about cancer for a couple of hours a week. And it did wonders for my stress level."—Donna, 58

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Overview

Mistletoe is a semiparasitic plant that grows on several types of common trees such as apple, oak, pine, and elm. Mistletoe extract has been used since ancient times to treat many ailments (see Question 1). Mistletoe is one of the most widely studied complementary and alternative medicine therapies in people with cancer. In certain European countries, preparations made from European mistletoe are among the most prescribed drugs for patients with cancer (see Question 1). Mistletoe extract...

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"I talked to my friend's cousin who had breast cancer a few years ago. She told me about her surgery and radiation, how it felt, and what to expect. It helped me to talk to someone who had been through it all and survived."—Thuy, 60

Deciding which information you want, knowing what to expect during treatment, and getting your support in place will help ease the stress of cancer treatment.

Information your way

When you get diagnosed with cancer, you start getting a lot of information. Doctors and sometimes even friends and family want to tell you about your type of cancer, your treatment options, and what will happen. The information can be very scary and confusing. It's a lot to take in.

Think about what you want to know about your treatment. Some people want to know everything about their cancer. Others just want the basics. Do you want information from your doctor, or do you want to read on your own, or both?

Tell your doctors, friends, and family what types of information you want and how you prefer to receive it. Ask them to support your decision.

Treatment and side effects

Even if you don't want to know a lot of details about your treatment, it's a good idea to learn about the side effects. Then you can take steps to prepare and ask for help if you need it. The side effects of chemotherapy depend on the medicines used for your treatment. And side effects vary from person to person. Your doctor can help you know what to expect and can prescribe medicines to help with side effects.

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