After receiving a diagnosis of cancer it is normal to feel overwhelmed and stressed. But there are things you can do to help you better cope with the fear associated with your disease. First, educate yourself about your condition and your treatment options. Secondly, don't try to go it alone. The most important step you can take is to seek help as soon as you feel less able to cope. Tap into all available resources, including support groups, to get through this trying time. Learn ways to control stress. Take time out for yourself and do your best to maintain a positive attitude.
Educate Yourself About Your Cancer
- Don't be afraid to ask your doctor, nurse, or other health care provider to repeat any instructions or medical terms that you don't understand. Your health care providers are always available to answer your questions and address your concerns.
- Make use of resources and support services offered by your hospital and in the community. Learning more about your disease will help you feel more comfortable with your treatment.
- Ask your family and friends to help you sort through the information you receive.
- Talk with other patients and families about cancer and its treatment.
Seek Support for Your Cancer Fight
There are many resources available to provide support for people with cancer and their families.
- Social Workers are available to discuss any concerns you may have about your cancer diagnosis and treatment or your personal situation. Social workers can provide education, counseling regarding lifestyle changes, and referrals to community or national agencies and support groups.
- Counseling. By participating in individual counseling sessions, you may more effectively be able to express sensitive or private feelings you have about your cancer and its impact on your life and relationships. In addition, mental health care providers are available to create a treatment plan to meet your specific needs. Strategies can be designed to help you regain a sense of control over your life and improve your quality of life. If you are depressed, medications other than those treating your cancer may be prescribed.
- Support Groups are a very useful sharing experience. They provide an environment in which you can learn new ways of dealing with your illness. Sometimes, others who have been through similar experiences can explain things differently than can your doctors. You also may want to share with others approaches you have discovered. You will gain strength in knowing that you are not facing hardships alone.
- Other Services. The American Cancer Society (ACS) offers a variety of services -- including financial counseling -- to help cancer patients. Call the ACS at 1-800-ACS-2345 for more information. A financial counselor is available to answer any questions you may have about financial issues related to your medical care.