What to Do After a Cancer Diagnosis
Hearing the dreaded C word can rock your world. Thoughts and worries quickly fill your head as you try and grasp this new reality.
What’s next? How do you cope? Hearing a cancer diagnosis is overwhelming, so it’s natural to feel anxious and scared.
But, take a breath. There are certain steps you can take to help with this worrisome period. Here are five things to do after getting a cancer diagnosis.
Understand the facts
Learning of a cancer diagnosis can bring a world of uncertainty. But, by learning everything you can about your condition, you might start to feel more in control.
For example, understanding what kind of cancer and what part of your body its affecting is a good starting point. From there, you can understand the risks of it spreading, family history, and what treatment is available.
Yet, hearing the answers to these questions might be a lot to take in. Try to take someone with you to your initial appointments, so no vital information is lost.
Put health first
After being diagnosed with cancer, you might feel an urge to curl up in bed and comfort eat. There’s no shame in needing this comfort, but studies have shown that maintaining a healthy lifestyle will benefit your condition.
Exercise can help with energy levels and reduce stress. Thus, it can greatly improve your quality of life during and after treatment. But, make sure to discuss exercise options with your doctor before taking any further steps.
However, this doesn’t mean you need to be running marathons. Going for a walk can boost your mood and get your blood pumping. Plus, you can keep healthy by eating a well-balanced diet that ensures you’re getting all of the right nutrients.
Stop worrying about work
You might be lying awake at night worrying about your workplace and what this means finically. However, this isn’t something you should excessively worry about.
The thought of telling your workplace of your diagnosis can seem daunting. You might be worried about what this means for you, but there are laws in place to protect you. Therefore, it’s best to always inform your workplace as soon as you know of your diagnosis.
On the other hand, you might be worried about what the diagnosis means for you finically. Again, there is support out there for you.
Prepare for your looks to change
One of the hardest things for people to deal with is cancer’s effect on their bodies. Suddenly a stranger is greeting you when you look in the mirror, which can greatly damage your self-esteem.
Treatments such as chemotherapy can leave patients without hair. This side effect is particularly troubling for those proud of their luscious locks. However, try to remind yourself that your hair will eventually grow back, and until then, you can always stock up on wigs.
Weight gain or loss is also common, depending on your medication. Preparing yourself for these changes will reduce the shock during your treatment and give you one less thing to worry about.
Don’t isolate yourself
Most importantly, you cannot go through this alone. No matter what doubts you’re feeling, you need a strong support group around you.
People often treat cancer patients differently. You might notice people start to fuss around you or treat you as if you’re fragile glass. While this can be annoying, try to remember they just want to help.
If you’re struggling with feelings of loneliness or isolation, there are countless cancer support groups and networks to join. These groups are full of other people going through the same things as you are, so you don’t have to worry about being judged or fussed over.