Choosing which treatment path to take can be a daunting process. It’s important to work closely with your doctors and healthcare team to understand all of the available options and their potential benefits and risks. When you finally come across a treatment option that resonates with your healthcare needs and remission goals, it can seem like a ray of new hope shining down on you following the heartbreaking news of a cancer diagnosis. However, many patients who choose alternative treatment options may find that this newfound hope is, on a less positive note, met with a complication: how to explain their alternative treatment path to loved ones.
The support of your family and friends can have a tremendous effect on both your physical and mental healing. According to the results of a study published in the National Library of Medicine, cancer patients showered with optimism and social support experienced less hopelessness, fewer depressive and anxious symptoms, and improved quality of life. Another study demonstrated a profound link between social support and positive cancer outcomes.
How to Tell Others “I Choose Alternative Treatment Options for Cancer”
If you are struggling to open up about your chosen path – perhaps because your loved ones resonate more with conventional care – here is our five-step guide to sharing the news with compassion.
Step 1: Recognize Emotions and True Intentions
Think of it this way: Perhaps your loved ones are also struggling with sadness and fears around your diagnosis. Though their pain is different from yours, it’s no less real. During this time, it makes more sense for them to be understanding of you than the other way around, but try to keep calm and recognize the following:
- How much they care about you
- Them setting aside other personal tasks to be with you
If anyone disagrees with you, keep your composure and view their response from a different angle. Maybe their immediate disapproval is a reflection of their own heartbreak and dread about your cancer. Remember, you have enough on your plate. Stay calm. Do not stress yourself out or feel frustrated about a friend or relative’s unenthused response to your decision.
This complex situation can cause tension. If you feel tense, these Seven Ways to Sleep Soundly During Stressful Times may help.
Step 2: Ask for Company As You Navigate Your Chosen Path
People who have never heard of alternative and comprehensive therapies will be naturally skeptical since Big Pharma and conventional cancer treatments have been the norm for generations. It can also be difficult to talk about this topic with a loved one who works for or is closely associated with someone from the pharmaceutical industry.
Taking any path alone can get lonely. As you open up about your treatment choice to friends and family, talk them into learning more about alternative cancer treatment options with you. For example, Our Latest News and Patient Stories are excellent resources for everyone. Our blogs, articles, and news provide a combination of overviews and deep dives into the science behind specific therapies, healthy lifestyles, superfoods, chronic diseases, and more.
Step 3: Set Your Boundaries
Instead of diving right into the conversation unprepared, it may help to specify your needs and boundaries first. Take a few moments to gather your thoughts and determine the type of support you need and want from your loved ones. Keeping an organized list of ideas can help you stay focused and composed during your talk.
Consider these questions:
- What kind of “support” do I need or want?
- What actions, words, or behaviors should I consider as crossing the line?
- Do I want to hear negative opinions? How much input do I want throughout this difficult time?
Don’t be afraid to discuss your needs and boundaries with those who you feel comfortable to share your innermost thoughts with. Doing so will also serve as a reminder of how important their support is during this difficult time in your life.
Step 4: Embrace the Power of Acceptance
Simply put, your journey toward remission is yours. You are the driver in your healing journey. Whether you choose conventional care, holistic therapies, or a combination of both treatment options to combat your disease, remember that no one can take your place and undergo treatments for you. Taking the path you resonate with most can be an empowering decision, potentially causing a positive effect on both your prognosis and emotional well-being.
In truth, not everyone will understand your choice, at least not right away. If you have followed all of the above steps and continue to have disagreements with your loved ones, the fourth step is to accept them regardless of your differences. Hopefully, in due time, they come to terms with your decision and realize that you made the right choice.
In cases when a loved one becomes aggressive in defense of their preferred option for you, remind them that while you appreciate their love and concern, this is your fight. And, though you are open to hearing everyone’s recommendations, it is ultimately you who decides which weapon to pick up and fight with and which protective gear to wear and defend yourself with.
Step 5: Choose and Pursue New Hope Unlimited
New Hope Medical Center is more than a center – we are a proactive community and our main focus is you. We know from experience that facing a cancer diagnosis can cause emotional distress, and it can feel even more gut-wrenching when certain loved ones refuse to acknowledge or agree with your treatment choice. Even though the New Hope Team is not your childhood pals or blood relatives, know that we are 100% committed to supporting you through every step of your healing journey.
Are You Ready to Leap Forward?
Our powerful treatment options help patients address the root cause of cancer while rebuilding the foundation for lasting good health. To learn more about what alternative treatments could do for you, contact us today to schedule a consultation and receive your personalized treatment plan. We look forward to supporting and empowering you through your journey toward remission.