Millions of people are diagnosed with cancer every year. One of the leading killers of men, women and children across the globe, cancer affects those diagnosed as well as their families and friends.
Cancer treatments continue to evolve, which should come as welcome news to men and women diagnosed with this often treatable disease. That group figures to expand in the coming years, as the World Health Organization estimates the number of new cancer cases will rise by about 70% over the next two decades.
Regardless of how far cancer research has come, a cancer diagnosis remains a cause for concern. Handling such a diagnosis well can help patients in their fights against the disease and improve their chances of making a full recovery.
• Learn about your disease. Physicians will make suggestions and recommendations to their patients, but it's ultimately up to patients to make decisions regarding their treatments. Learning about your disease may help you feel more comfortable about the decisions you will be asked to make during your fight. The Mayo Clinic also advises men and women to determine their comfort levels with regard to their disease. Some may prefer to learn only the basics of their disease, trusting major treatment decisions to their physicians, while others want to know as much as possible so they can be the primary decision-maker regarding their treatments. Don't be afraid to leave major decisions to your physician if you find yourself becoming overwhelmed with information about your disease.
• Embrace your support system. Friends and family members can be wonderful resources during your fight against cancer. The Mayo Clinic advises cancer patients to keep the lines of communication with their loved ones open, sharing updates about your treatments and discussing any decisions you may be facing. Feelings of isolation may grow if you stay tight-lipped about your disease, so embrace your support system, accepting any help your loved ones offer.
• Prepare for change. Cancer treatments have come a long way over the last several decades, but they may still produce unwanted side effects, such as fatigue and hair loss. The Mayo Clinic notes that cancer support groups may be especially helpful as cancer patients prepare and ultimately deal with the changes that accompany their treatments. Ask your physician about the likely side effects of your treatment and if he or she has any suggestions regarding how to handle those side effects.
• Revisit your priorities. Patients will have to devote a lot of time and energy to successfully navigate cancer treatments. Revisiting your priorities to determine what's truly important can help you clear away personal clutter so you have more energy as you fight your disease.
Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a life-changing event. How patients handle their diagnosis can have a dramatic impact on how successfully their bodies take to treatment.