You Have Cancer … Now What?

78770209Receiving a cancer diagnosis is scary and overwhelming.  When cancer enters the picture, life becomes disrupted, fear sets in and answers may not come quickly enough. The next few days and weeks is a time to be very kind to yourself and let your health care provider assist you.  Your health care team will work with you to organize and develop a treatment plan personalized for you.  They will need your input, cooperation, questions, and concerns. Remember they are working to achieve the most positive outcome for you!

What Do You Do?

  1. Make a list your questions and concerns. As you meet with your health care team, review your questions with them. Ask away! They are the best source of information about you and your diagnosis.
  2. Bring a support person with you to appointments.  You’ll receive lots of information about your diagnosis and treatment. The other person can help you listen, take notes and ask questions.

What to Look for in Your Team:

  • A provider who uses a comprehensive team approach to your diagnosis; by working with other experts, you get opinions on the latest services and newest technologies.
  • Your team should discuss all options with you. A team member will most likely discuss options for clinical trials. Clinical trials are new treatment options that are in late testing, meaning they have been approved for use on willing patients but have not yet become a mainstream treatment.
  • Care should encompass body, mind and spirit and be within an easy distance from home.
  • Most importantly, find a team you feel comfortable with. Trust is vital to having a good relationship with your care team and your confidence in their abilities to care for you.

Where Can You go for Information?

Your health care provider or their team is an excellent resource. Avera provides online resources for patients and families. Learn how Avera does cancer care differently. Other online resources are also available including the National Cancer Institute or the American Cancer Society websites.

While a cancer diagnosis is scary, cancer doesn’t have to rule our life. Cancer can take away your hair but it can’t take away your spirit, your faith or determination. What else can cancer not take from you?

By Charlene Berke

Director of the Cancer Center at Avera Queen of Peace Hospital

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