There are few things that can be as disorienting as being told that your physical ails – which before seemed insignificant, such as a persistent headache or stomachache – is being tested for cancer. Cancer – the dreaded disease that is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the world – has encroached upon your own life, jolting you away from a bubble of invincibility. Some say they felt an indescribable numbness going through them upon hearing that they might have cancer, while others say they just wanted to forget the premature diagnosis while it hasn’t been confirmed. In short, the latter group got a new rein in life – at least for a while.
Whatever your initial reaction might be, the World Health Organization (WHO) surmises that the number of newly diagnosed cancer cases is expected to rise by 70% in the coming two decades. Given that most cancers are triggered by environmental and lifestyle factors, you would assume that most people would know how to avoid them; however, there are instances when even your careful lifestyle choices are powerless to stop the progression of the disease, particularly if your genes are to be blamed for it.
As such, the only thing you can do is to bear your burden with grace and soldier on, even though it may be difficult to do so. Here are some tips which may help you prepare for your cancer results.
1. Prepare yourself emotionally
This is one of the things that most cancer patients find difficulty coming into terms with. It is difficult to acknowledge that among the 7.4 billion people in the planet, the disease somehow found its way to you. Nevertheless, don’t feel too bleak: remember that many forms of cancer have high survival rates, and it is possible to beat back the disease. What you should focus on is arming yourself with the right information so you’ll be in a better position to conquer cancer.
2. Research extensively
While waiting for your test results can make you feel lost, you can use the time wisely to research about your disease. Where is the suspected tumor and what kinds of cancer are common among that area? This is not about being morbid, but rather arming yourself with knowledge so that you can ask all the right questions when you’re talking to your doctor. This way, you would be able to be actively involved in your treatment, which would at least give you with a better sense of purpose. Not only that, but you would also have a better idea of what is going on. Remember, however, to take everything you read on the Internet with a grain of salt, and do not worry yourself with precarious mortality rates. Your doctor and medical team would be able to provide you the right answers with all your questions.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
At this trying time, it would be to your advantage to seek the help of your friends and loved ones. Having them at your side providing unparalleled support would do well to keep you from melancholy, not to mention to focus on your recovery. Remember that it is not a sign of weakness to ask for help; after all, you were just given the shock of your life. You would feel better, if not less alone, if you would are comforted by those you love.
4. Prepare for the consultation
When people are told that they have cancer, most of them react in these two ways: some regress and lose all hope, while others rally back and fight valiantly to combat the disease. Strive to be in the latter group. You can do this by preparing for your consultation as much as you can. After extensively researching about cancer, write down pertinent questions and ask your medical team about them. For starters, you should ask the following:
• What type of cancer do I have, and where is it located? Has it spread to other parts of my body? What is the stage of this cancer, and what does this mean for me?
• How did I get this? Is it caused by genetic factors? Is my family at risk of this disease?
• If my family is at risk of this cancer, what can they do to prevent it? How can they get tested for it?
• What are my treatment options? Which do you recommend, and why do you recommend it?
• Are you trying to get rid of the cancer, or just trying to make me feel comfortable? What are my chances of beating this cancer? If I’m terminal, how much time do I have?
• What lifestyle changes should I make to help my treatment? Are there any restrictions to my daily activities? If so, what activities should I avoid?
Never feel that your questions are insignificant; remember that you have to cope with the cancer, and having the right information would give you a better chance of conquering it. Likewise, your medical team should be able to provide you with a clear picture of what you are up against.
5. Take a deep breath and fight
One of the best things you can do for yourself when you are preparing for your cancer results is to rally your strength and to fight back. Never lose hope and continue to live as normally as you can. Granted, several things would change, such as your priorities, but you should not be limited by your disease.
Remember that a cancer diagnosis does not necessarily mean a death sentence. With today’s medical advances, you have the right tools to fight back. You don’t have to be a victim and to just sit by and watch the cancer eat away at your life. Rather, you can continue to live your life as fully as you can. Your quality of life while waiting for your cancer results – and after diagnosis – is yours to make. It is only up to you if you would rather wait for the cancer to run its course, or if you would chase it out of your system.