Cancer Treatment: 10 Things I wish I had known before
The first tip to win a war is knowing your enemy well!
The news of cancer is the most devastating episode of one’s life. People often go through phases of denial and dejection. Until they succumb to the excruciating cancer treatments with little to no hope. But here are 10 important things you would want to know before the battle with cancer begins.
These are sure to change your perception of cancer and equip you better to battle the monster.
1. Cancer diagnosis is not the end
The first reaction to cancer is often panic accompanied by turbulence of emotions. But this does not always have to be like this. Today, cancer is treatable and controllable, especially if detected in an early stage. The development in the field of cancer diagnosis, treatment, and care is commendable. So, the scary stories of the past cannot foretell the verdict of your future.
2. Go for a second opinion
Whether it’s your doubt about cancer or the diagnosis of the same, always go for a second opinion. When it comes to cancer there is no room for doubts. Get the diagnosis verified and weigh the different treatment options. Opt for the one that suits you best. Also, visiting a specialist on a particular cancer type might be helpful.
A second opinion will optimize the therapeutic plan. It helps in better understanding whether surgery is to be followed by chemo- or radiation therapy or vice versa. Looking at the age and performance status of the patient, the Oncologist may even advise oral therapy (if available). Available at home, the oral therapy (if possible, depending on the type of cancer) can enhance the quality of life and offer better peace of mind.
This will optimize the therapeutic plan. It helps in better understanding whether surgery is to be followed by chemo- or radiation therapy or vice versa. Looking at the age and performance status of the patient, the Oncologist may even advise oral therapy (if available). Available at home, the oral therapy (if possible, depending on the type of cancer) can enhance quality of life and offer better peace of mind.
3. Everything the internet says is not true
With an ocean of information available at the fingertips, it can be very tempting to dig every data and read every article related to the topic. But the internet is full of contradictory claims and cancer myths. It might create confusion and frustration. Also, reading negative news might further crack the broken spirit. The things you might search for are tips on healthy living and positive thinking. But for the medical stuff trust the doctor.
4. It’s ok to be picky
When it comes to your cancer treatment, it’s completely ok to be picky and choosy. Your comfort level with the doctor is a very important aspect of this journey. So, don’t shy from hunting your options and then picking the one who makes you comfortable, who is optimistic but also realistic and who knows the job well.
5. Dentist appointment before cancer treatment
Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and immunosuppressive treatments can worsen existing dental and oral problems. It might cause painful mouth sores, ulcers, infections and bleeding. Thus, visiting a dentist who knows about the effects of cancer treatment can help avoid problems of the teeth and mouth.
6. Molecular Profiling before cancer treatment
Every individual is unique and so is their cancer. Identifying unique biomarkers would reveal important information about cancer which can play a determinant role in cancer treatment.
7. Discuss the goals of cancer treatment
It is important to have clarity about every aspect of your cancer treatment. Ask your doctor to explain the treatment processes and the end results aimed to obtain. For some, it can be minimizing the symptoms, for some, it can be prolonging the span and for some, it can be curbing the chances of recurrence. Knowing the goals of your cancer treatment helps you to keep realistic expectations.
8. Connect with survivors
Cancer is an overwhelming journey and you would need the supporters to pull you up along the way. Read inspiring survivor stories. Surround yourself with the heroes. They will help you draw the positivity and strength to fight and win over cancer.
9. There are people to help you out
The battle with cancer can take a toll not only mentally and physically but also financially. There are a number of organizations, help centers, caregivers and support programs that you can reach out to for help. You are not alone in this journey and there is no shame in asking for help. We all need it at some point!
10. Healing is a long process
The battle with cancer is a long tiring journey. It will need a lot of positivity, strength, and energy. So, keeping yourself physically active and mentally engrossed in positive things will help you walk the road. Healing will take time, so waiting for that golden day, throwing away the everyday bliss is not the way to fight cancer. Live in the moment, laugh loud, eat healthily, and fight cancer with a tough fist!