Being diagnosed with cancer is tough, but what can be more disarming is finding that your cancer recurred after treatment. More than the physical toll, cancer recurrence is also emotionally stressful for the patient and his or her loved ones.
Although it’s a hard fact that cancer can happen again, a comforting truth is that there are ways to deal with it and maintain a positive disposition despite such news.
If you or a loved one has a cancer that recurred or developed a second type of cancer after treatment, here are five tips to help you stay emotionally strong and cope with the situation.
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
It’s normal to feel discouraged, distressed, angry, doubtful, tired, and sad after you learn that you have cancer again. Although staying positive is important in this situation, you also need to accept that you’re feeling undesirable emotions too, because this is how you start to deal and cope.
Not recognizing your feelings or being in a state of denial may cause harm in the long run, and you may end up breaking down if you keep those emotions bottled up for far too long.
2. Change your perspective.
Just the mere thought of going back to cancer treatment can be exhausting for you. But instead of wallowing on how defeated you feel; why not shift your perspective to the more positive side of things?
Take comfort in the fact that you know more about cancer now than you did on your first diagnoses, which means that you’re already aware of what to expect as well as the type of care and alternative treatments you prefer in managing stress and discomfort. With that, you can have the confidence that you can still thrive and make the most out of your life despite your condition.
3. Stay proactive.
You may feel like your world is crumbling down but just like your first case of cancer, a recurrence is not a death sentence. Your chances of survival and response to treatment will depend on a lot of factors, but you should explore your treatment options and be proactive with it. Having a second case of cancer is not a failure, but giving up without trying is. So seek treatment and care, discuss with your doctor about your options, and know your likelihood of survival.
Don’t simply drop the fight and let cancer defeat you. Face it so that you can make realistic plans for you and your family.
4. Always find time to do things that you enjoy or help you relax
You may have physical restrictions during treatment, but fun activities can come in simple forms. You can read your favorite book, go on a stroll with your loved ones, or listen to music. Squeeze time for activities you love doing because they will help uplift your mood and spirit.
5. Get a second opinion.
Just to be sure, you can seek a second opinion. This will help you clarify the diagnosis, and make informed decisions about treatment and care.
Cancer can be unpredictable and there’s a possibility that it will recur. If you experience a recurrence or develop a second case of cancer after treatment, don’t simply give up. It’s a tough battle to fight, but know that you can still live a good quality of life despite the condition.