Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Every year, millions of people are diagnosed with cancer around the world, and more than half of the patients eventually die from it.
As a potentially life-threatening disease, it is also a condition that is associated with significant fears and concerns. As a result, a diagnosis of cancer can have a profound effect on the individual and their family member’s health and wellbeing. The patient can experience a rollercoaster of emotions like anxiety, distress, and depression. Though it is normal to feel these emotions after being diagnosed with cancer, at the same times, it is important to recognize these changes and get help when needed.
Surviving cancer is not an easy task. Doing it once maybe the toughest thing. In this sense, cancer is often described as "fighting cancer" as a war metaphor to motivate the patients and to encourage them in the cancer journey.
Surviving cancer is always the goal, but the real test for the cancer patient is how to deal with it?
1. Going through the fight
During the initial days of diagnosis, the patient can experience physical, social, emotional, and psychological changes. Life after cancer diagnosis depends on how you think it to be. Your perception will become reality. Try to choose the brighter side and avoid judging yourself for your emotions.
The first step in fighting cancer is realizing that you have an issue and having the courage to reach out for help.
Once you have diagnosed with cancer, it is important to know the details of your condition. Have an open discussion with your doctor and collect basic and useful information about the diagnosis such as cancer location, whether it has spread to other parts, available treatment options, the success rate of each treatment and the possible side effects.
It is always advisable to seek a second opinion about your condition. This will help you feel confident and comfortable in the diagnosis and treatment plans. Talking to another doctor will also help you in clearing your doubts and provide you with a peace of mind.
Getting ready for treatment schedule and coping its side-effects is the next task. Dealing with cancer treatment may make you physically and emotionally draining. Most people feel it as almost unmanageable. It is important to prepare yourselves physically and mentally before undergoing the procedure. As the journey continues, these treatments can cause your body to change. Your body may look different and most patients struggle with these changes and the effects they have on self-esteem. Try to accept these changes as part of your cancer journey.
If you suffer from a prolonged sense of mixed emotions and adjustment issues seek help from a psychotherapist, healthcare team, and support group or faith community.
2. Fighting childhood Cancer
Studies showed that every two minutes, a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. When cancer is diagnosed in a child, it not only affects that child instead it affects the whole family. A parent is never prepared to hear that their child is diagnosed with such a life-threatening illness. The parents have to handle their emotions and will have to make tough decisions about the treatment plan and should also learn to the medical procedures and clinical visits.
The treatment plan for childhood cancers should be designed to help kids to navigate the challenges that come during their cancer journey. Several hospital visits and treatment schedules may affect your child’s health and make them feel more anxious and fatigue. Seek help from a certified child life therapist to prepare your child in the cancer journey. There are also several advocacy groups worldwide that support cancer patients and their family with adequate and timely assistance. Regular follow-up and healthy eating habits will increase your child’s chances for the best possible outcome.
3. Coping with Cancer
After the initial shock and depression, it is important to learn about what comes next and how to deal with it. Being diagnosed with cancer is not “The End”. You have to move on.
Here are some strategies to deal with the stress and emotional challenges that come from a cancer diagnosis:
- Find emotional support
It is quite natural to feel lonely after a cancer diagnosis. You have to understand that fighting cancer is a team effort. Share your thoughts and feelings with your loved ones and family. It will give you the strength to cope up with the situation. There are also several advocacy groups worldwide that support people with various types of cancers.
- Prepare yourself for the possible physical changes
It is necessary to have a better understanding of the consequences of the treatment before undergoing it. Have a discussion with your doctor about the changes you should expect and prepare accordingly. Based on the instructions provided by your healthcare team, prepare yourself well so that you will be able to handle the changes in a better way.
- Take care of yourselves
You have to be physically and emotionally healthy to take care of your family and their mental health.
Here are some ways to take care of your mental health:
- Try to get a good amount of sleep each night
- Take a break by revisiting your favorite hobbies
- Choose a healthy diet consisting of a variety of healthy foods.
- Practice relaxation techniques and stress relief exercises to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Create a support system by contacting your friends or family members
A positive attitude is important to fight cancer, but the greatest predictor of surviving cancer is the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis and overall health of the patient. Find out the best doctor and healthcare team who is specialized in cancer care and can design a perfect treating plan.
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