5 First Steps Following a Cancer Diagnosis

Sadness, worry, and fear are just some of the emotions that engulf a person who has recently been diagnosed with cancer. It is easy to become overwhelmed and paralyzed when you hear those dreaded words, which is why the team at Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging has compiled a list of 5 immediate to-dos that can help you move forward and face the challenges ahead.

Feel Your Emotions

Cry and rant if you need to. No one will think less of you if you need to get those inherent emotions out at first. Just don’t spend too long wallowing in this state, as it can cause a person to become depressed or inert.

Doctor explaining diagnosis to her female patient

Regain Some Control

Start doing research using clinical and reputable sites to gather the information you need to become fully educated about your health. Talk to Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging to learn pertinent details on your particular type of cancer, which can include:

  • Its exact name and categorization
  • Its location
  • Its size
  • Where its development started in the body
  • Has the cancer spread
  • What stage of cancer you are in
  • If your cancer is considered a slow or aggressive type
  • What treatment options are available

The more you know about your cancer, the easier it is to make important decisions about your next steps. You are the one who is sick, so you are your best advocate. Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging can make recommendations and provide plenty of advise from a medical standpoint, but you ultimately make the final decisions.

Get Organized

Be on top of your appointments, Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging’s contact information, test results, questions to ask at your next appointments, etc. Keep everything together in a notebook , computer, or device so that you have a point of reference for later when you want to review or add new information.

Rely on a Stable Support System

A trusted, supportive friend and/or spouse needs to be there at your side. They should be with you each time you meet a new doctor since it’s easy to miss information or not hear everything correctly. This person, or persons, will also be with you to listen, offer comfort, and support you in all the decisions you will be making. 

A larger circle of support can assist with childcare, meals, driving to appointments, or anything else you might need. If someone asks how they can help, tell them.

To avoid long, repetitive phone calls, send a group text message to those who you wish to update about your cancer journey on a regular basis to let them know how you are doing. Use the audio text method to save time and energy if needed. 

Weigh Your Treatment Options

Collect specific questions to ask about what treatment options are open to you. Find out what the treatments will be, what will they accomplish, the side effects versus the benefits, how long will they take, and what should you expect related to fatigue and sickness. One last question to consider might be what would happen without any treatment. 

Each case is different, so you should relate the answers you are given to your own particular health condition and age. Get a second opinion if you are not entirely satisfied, but don’t waste precious time getting multiple opinions. Sadly, many individuals can search for better news from another physician while their health continues to progressively worsen.

Other Important Steps to Include After a Cancer Diagnosis

Find ways to distract yourself from the worry and cope with what’s happening. Start a journal, meditate, enjoy nature, or take an afternoon under a comfy throw and read a good book.

Guard against depression. If you begin to feel overwhelmed, can’t think clearly, or are confused, ask for help. 

Pull out your insurance policy and read what will and will not be covered so you and your loved ones know how to deal with upcoming financial responsibilities. 

You decide who to tell and when to tell others about your situation. If you genuinely wish to give an update to friends and family, go ahead. If not, that is perfectly alright too.

Your care team and Southwest Diagnostic Center for Molecular Imaging are there for you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions following a cancer diagnosis.

As always, if you have any further questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (214) 345-8300 today! 

Category: Cancer
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