About 1.6 million are expected to be diagnosed of cancer in 2016, and an estimated mortality of 590,000 Americans, more or less, would be reported in the same year. It could be anybody; it could be you or a family member and in truth, no one can prepare themselves for this until they have firsthand experience.
The prevalence of cancer has been on the rise since the first time it has appeared in the taxonomy of noncommunicable disease and it incessantly plagues the lives of everyone no matter the age, gender, race, economic status. It does not matter whether a person leads a healthy lifestyle or would not even care less about their bodies.
Despite the disheartening threat that lies ahead, cancer can be dealt with, through early diagnoses and appropriate treatment approach. Whether you have recently been diagnosed or is presently fighting the battle against cancer, building the right army that would stand with you in this lifelong war is vital.
Here we provide useful insights and factors to consider when choosing the people you would employ in your team and essential information on the treatment options that you may be contemplating in the nearest future.
“Beat Cancer to Bits” Checklist
Finding out that you have cancer can leave you feeling like you have been run over by a speeding train and you cannot regain your balance and bravado. Do not entertain the thoughts that you are less of a person when you feel this way because it is normal, acceptable, and expected. It is not unnatural to feel overwhelmed because cancer imposes a major change in the life you have and those that surrounds you.
Making sound decisions or even the thought of having to consider options and advice from doctors, family and friends, is exhausting to the point that you may be considering to give up or just let the others decide for your life and impending death.
Take a step back and breathe. Choosing your doctor and the treatment center is one of the most important decisions you are going to make in your life. You would want to ensure that you will get the best possible medical care and treatment.
A rule of thumb for this is: ALWAYS ASK. Never be afraid to ask or be shy to clarify anything that seems vague or confusing.
Upon being diagnosed with cancer, your primary care physician is the first person that you can inquire from. Oftentimes your doctor would give you a set of referrals that would be able to provide the best and most appropriate treatment that your type of cancer would need. You can ask the doctor who found your cancer the following questions:
- If you were in my position, who would you choose to be your doctor for this type of cancer?
- I want to be extra sure of the diagnosis, can you refer at least 2 or 3 more doctors with whom I can set an appointment with for second opinion?
Your primary care physician will also tell you if immediate actions should be taken with your type of cancer or if you still have time to think things through first. Nurses are also key persons whom you can ask adivce from, since they have a great deal of knowledge of patients who have undergone the same situation with yours. Asking from cancer patients, too, would help because they had firsthand experience of being treated with a team of cancer specialists.
The approach is highly specialized for each type of cancer. There are three basic types of oncologists that you would be meeting, depending on your situation: they can be medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists. You may meet one of them at a time or they can all be onboard your case.
When deciding what you want and need in a doctor, consider his experience, his affiliation with your health insurance and the cancer treatment centers, as well as the character and the chemistry you have with your chosen specialist. Deciding what to do next and which doctors you would see should take a sensible amount of time because they will be the ones who will be with you at the beginning and through the treatment.
Hospital and Cancer Treatment Centers
Choosing the right hospital and cancer treatment center is another vital factor that you should be considering. Your primary care physician, or the doctor who found your cancer, should be able to help you find a hospital or center that has the experience with treating your type of cancer.
When deciding which hospital you will be taking up your case, it is imperative that you check if it is a reputable hospital or cancer treatment centers.
Your Treatment Options
There are several of cancer treatment options that you will be considering with your team in the future. The most common types are surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, target therapy, and immunotherapy. Other procedures and techniques such as stem cell transplant, hyperthermia, photodynamic therapy, blood product donation and transfusion, and laser cancer treatments are also available now. It is best that you work with your newly formed cancer army when considering any of these options. Your type of cancer will have a specific treatment and not all that is mentioned above will be used for you. Do your homework, and never be shy to ask.