A cancer diagnosis can be unexpected and frightening to hear. After you have been diagnosed with cancer you will need to prepare for whatever type of treatment you choose to pursue. Most cancers can be treated with radiation and / or chemotherapy, and there are specific steps you can take when preparing for the treatments.
Here are five things you should do to help with your treatment:
1. Ask your doctor what the best and worst-case scenarios are.
Whether you’re facing chemotherapy, radiation or surgery, you need to know what to expect. Many people go into cancer treatment without knowing the possibilities. Then if a worst-case scenario happens, it catches them off guard. The most important step your oncologist can help you prepare for treatment is to clearly set expectations of the possible good — and bad — outcomes.
good — and bad — outcomes.
2. Educate yourself.
Look for sites that are specific to your type of cancer. For those with breast cancer, for instance, the Breast Cancer Welfare Association of Malaysia can educate and prepare you.
3. Be proactive.
Provide all of your physicians with documentation about your conditions. Don’t assume they have everything.
4. Follow up.
Don’t assume that a test result is normal just because you didn’t hear anything about It.
5. Reach out for support.
Use online information only as a starting point. None of the information you find online is a substitute for a face-to-face discussion with a physician. Talk to other patients. Find support groups for your type of cancer. Get a second opinion.
Cycle of Care
· Diagnosis (from primary consultant)
· Oncologist (Consultation & Investigations)
· Investigations (Blood Test, Imaging, etc)
· Treatment Option (Chemotherapy, Radiation Therapy, etc)
· Treatment Procedure
· Post Treatment (care)
· Follow Up (For monitoring)
Preparation Before Treatment
· Clean house and do laundry
· Do your grocery shopping before your hospital visits.
· Stock your cupboards with lots of easy-to-prepare meals.
· Prepare meals in advance and freeze them for later.
· Pack healthy snacks
· Prepare a Treatment Bag which consist of:
o Sweater and comfortable clothes, blanket and pillow.
o Music player, headphones and favorite music
o Reading materials/ crossword puzzles or other activities.
o Lip balm, body lotion and calming teas like peppermint.
o Notepad or journal and pen.
· Let your friends and family know that you may need their help after treatment.
· If you have a child, look at your available childcare options. Tell the school or nursery so they can help support you and your child.
· Talk to your employer about the possibility of working from home or working flexible hours.
· Keep a diary to help you track your energy levels and plan around them.
What should | do?
lf you are diagnosed with cancer; you and your doctor will discuss treatment options. As you decide what course of treatment is right for you, you may feel nervous. It’s normal to feel this way. Knowing what to expect during treatment and helping plan for it may help ease your mind.
Use the tips below to make your plan as detailed as possible.
Write it down
Before visiting your doctor, you may find it useful to write down your questions so that you won’t forget to ask. During your appointment, take notes to help you remember what the doctor says.
A family member or friend may join you in providing emotional support and help you remember what your doctor says during the visit.
Plan for side effects
Know which side affects you may experience and make a plan for dealing with them. Some common side effects include fatigue, hair loss, nausea, and infection. Your doctor also may provide you with a list of medicines to help with your side effects. It’s best to have these medicines on hand before your treatment begins.
Eat healthy diet
Appropriate nutrition is important for people with cancer. Your doctor can provide guidance on how you should change your diet before and during treatment. Your doctor also may refer you to a dietitian who can offer valuable information and advice.
Don’t forget about physical activity
Physical activity has many benefits. It helps you maintain muscle mass, strength, stamina, and bone strength. It can help reduce depression, stress, fatigue, nausea, and constipation. It can also improve your appetite.