If your doctor has diagnosed you with cancer, you probably have a lot of questions. When you are first diagnosed, you may initially feel a sense of shock that can make it hard to think. Some questions might not occur to you until after your appointment, and that's perfectly fine. Make a list of questions to ask your doctor and bring them up at your next appointment. Until then, here are some steps you should take in your fight against cancer.
1. Understand your treatment plan.
Your doctor will refer you to a specialist who will tailor a treatment plan to your unique situation. It's a good idea to research your treatment plan so you know exactly what's happening. Being informed is a good way to fight back against feelings of helplessness.
2. Get counseling.
When you receive a cancer diagnosis, you may feel a lot of emotions. Fear, anger, disbelief, and grief are all common reactions to being told that you have cancer. It's healthy and normal to have these feelings, but you may have a hard time processing them on your own. If that's the situation you find yourself in, ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist. A counselor who has experience dealing with cancer patients can help you make sense of your diagnosis. It's possible to find peace even when you're dealing with a difficult illness, and a therapist can help.
3. Prepare for surgery.
Depending on the type of cancer you were diagnosed with, your doctor may feel that surgery is necessary to remove cancerous tissue. If you're scheduled to undergo surgery, ask your doctor about any specific instructions you should follow before and after the procedure. According to the National Cancer Institute, it's a good idea to eat nutritious, healthy meals leading up to your surgery, since a strong body will heal much better than a malnourished one. If you don't have much of an appetite, you may want to try meal replacement shakes as an alternative.
4. Undergo chemotherapy.
Sometimes different cancer treatments are prescribed in conjunction, especially in cases where the cancer has started to spread to other parts of your body. Chemotherapy is a type of radiation treatment designed to rid your body of cancerous cells. While chemotherapy can be very effective, it can also come with severe side effects such as nausea, weakness, and hair loss. Your doctor will work with you to find methods to reduce these side effects as much as possible.