How to Cope
with a Cancer Diagnosis
(NewsUSA) - Denial. Fear. Anger. A cancer diagnosis brings an endless amount of emotions. What do you do now?
It's hard to know where to start when it comes to treating cancer, but you are not alone in your journey to recovery. Doctors and nurses will be there to help you address your questions and concerns about cancer treatment.
With these tips from the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology, you'll be more prepared to fight the disease head-on.
* First, take a deep breath. You don't have to decide on the best treatment the second you are diagnosed. Take a moment to collect your thoughts.
* Do your homework. Before agreeing to a treatment, read up on your type of cancer and the treatments that are available. Visit your hospital's cancer resource library to find brochures and other information on your type of cancer. Your local library and the Internet also are great places for information. Keep in mind that some of the information out there is out-of-date or biased, so be sure to talk to your doctor about what you learn.
* Get a second opinion. In some cases, more than one treatment may be right for your cancer. Before deciding on a treatment, be sure to meet with several different cancer doctors, including a surgeon, a radiation oncologist and a medical oncologist, to learn about available treatments and their side effects. Getting all of this information at once might be difficult to digest, therefore it's a good idea to take a friend or family member with you to help take notes and ask questions.
* Ask about clinical trials. Clinical trials are studies examining new ways to treat cancer. Some experimental drugs or techniques will only be available to patients who are participating in a clinical trial.
* Get involved. Cancer support groups are available in all parts of the country to help patients and family members cope. Ask your nurse for recommendations of groups in your area.
* Talk to your insurance company. Avoid surprises during treatment by learning what cancer treatments are covered by your plan. If you don't have insurance, talk to your doctors about the options available to you.
Once you have the facts in front of you, review the information to decide on a treatment that you will be comfortable with for years to come. For more information on cancer treatments or to locate a radiation oncologist in your area, visit www.astro.org/patient.