Most people who have ever been diagnosed with cancer will tell you that they didn’t hear a single thing the doctor said after the word ‘Cancer.’ Among the many emotions you may feel after receiving a cancer diagnosis, the first is probably shock. Even if you knew something was wrong, even if you suspected it might be serious, you still may not have expected to hear the word cancer.
- Shock is a completely natural response to this kind of news. Allow yourself a little time to let it sink in. It’s important to recognize this as part of the experience. Ask your doctor to write up their notes so you can take them home to digest the information and discuss with your loved-ones.
- Give yourself a little time before you try to make treatment decisions. Although there are rare cases that this is not true, most patients can afford to spend a few days considering their treatment options, clinical trial eligibility, or even getting a second opinion. It’s worth noting that the results of tumor biopsies, particularly those sent for genomic testing, can take up to two weeks for results to come back. It’s natural to feel a sense of urgency but you need time to absorb the information you’ve received and consult loved ones about your choices. (Note that this isn’t a medical opinion, be sure to consult your doctor first.)
- Avoid focusing on “What Ifs” and disastrous scenarios. Cancer treatment has improved exponentially in the past two decades. In addition to understanding existing medicines better, new forms of treatment are showing positive results. People are living with some forms of cancer which used to be considered terminal.
- Stay in the present. In a study conducted by Cadence Communications and Research, healthcare professionals consistently cited patients’ concerns about future treatments and outcomes as a significant cause of anxiety. Try to focus on your immediate tasks and live in the present.
As the shock of your diagnosis begins to wear off, you’ll find yourself needing to make several important decisions, which may seem overwhelming. resources provide information on ways that you can
In a study that was recently conducted by Cadence Communications & Research the following websites were suggested as excellent resources for patients with cancer and may help to reduce the natural anxiety and fear of living with a cancer diagnosis:
The Julie Fund for Women’s Cancers