Patients that are diagnosed with cancer will experience a wide range of emotions. Here are step-by-step instructions for patients that have recently been diagnosed with cancer and what they can do to protect their physical and emotional health.
Get the Details
The single best thing that a patient can do is to learn about their diagnosis. An informed patient will be able to make well-educated decisions about any upcoming treatments and lifestyle changes. Every patient should know where their cancer is, if it has spread, where it came from, how aggressive it is, and what their treatment options will be in the future.
Bring Someone With You
Many people say that they feel numb or have an out-of-body experience after being diagnosed with cancer. Unfortunately, this may result in them not asking the right questions or even forgetting what they are told by the doctor. Having a family member or loved one by your side during your appointment will not only help with any anxiety that you may have, but these individuals will be able to keep a clear head and take in all of the information.
Avoid Untrustworthy Sources
It is always a great idea to take some time and conduct one’s own research on their particular type of cancer, but there are just as many untrustworthy sources of information as there are trustworthy sources. Anything that is not backed by the medical community should be taken with a grain of salt or avoided completely. Even if one’s overall treatment plan will include non-traditional or homeopathic options, it is vital to have a good foundation of credible data.
Get Emotional Support
Emotional support will be extremely important after a cancer diagnosis, especially in those first few weeks and months. Surrounding yourself with friends and family members will help you reduce your risk of chronic depression and anxiety. Many patients also opt for professional therapy immediately following their diagnosis to learn about coping tools.
Become as Healthy as Possible
Finally, patients will want to change any unhealthy lifestyle habits that they may have in order to lessen the side effects of cancer treatment and improve their body’s ability to fight off cancerous cells. This should include avoiding processed food and focusing one’s diet on fresh produce, lean protein sources, and whole grains.