It can be a scary and traumatic experience to receive news that you are diagnosed with cancer. This information is going to be a lot to take in as worries and anxious thoughts start flooding your mind. However, take comfort in knowing that you have the time to think things through and take the next course of action with your loved ones, your doctor, and importantly, yourself.
Amid this period of uncertainty, it is understandable that people are eager to learn what their options are to protect their health and maintain their quality of life. To help you get through this difficult process, we share some tips to help you arrive at the best decision that’s right for you.
1. Start with your needs
Start with yourself – assessing what you need is a crucial first step. Begin by asking the following:
– Do you need additional support from your loved ones?
– Are you comfortable in making the decisions yourself?
– What are your expectations from undergoing treatment?
From there, explore further what your hopes and feelings are regarding your treatment, and list down all the other questions in your mind. If you’re not up to the task of making this decision for yourself, rely on someone close to you to handle things until you’re ready.
Remember that you’re not alone in this journey and that your doctor and those near and dear to you can help and support you, as well as provide the answers you seek.
2. Have a clear goal in mind
There are various types of cancer treatment that work in many ways and achieve different results. The primary goals of treating cancer are, namely:
– Cure (complete eradication of tumours)
– Control (shrink or stop the growth of cancer cells)
– Palliate (ease the severity of the pain without removal)
Depending on your condition, the goal may be one of these or a combination of them. Your cancer type and its severity will also impact what is most important to you. Speaking to your doctor will allow you to know the side effects for each treatment option, what to expect from them, the financial costs involved, and how it will affect your daily life.
Knowing these will ultimately help you make an informed decision and set realistic expectations. You may also wish to weigh the risks and benefits, and discuss this further with your doctor or your loved ones on the road you wish to take.
3. Weight the benefits of each option
Each treatment option has its risks and benefits. As such, it is a good idea to weigh them against each other and consider the goal each option achieves to help along in your decision.
Unfortunately, side effects are common when it comes to cancer treatments. For harsher treatments, you might not be willing to endure certain side effects, while there may be other side effects that are not agreeable to your existing health conditions. Get to know what are the side effects to be expected and take them into account how it affects your daily life and personal health.
It is also good to know how the cancer treatment will affect your way of living. Will you need to take some time off to attend treatment sessions? How long is the duration? Your personal preference and goals will help you decide on the type of treatment that best fit in your life – so talk to your doctor to learn more what each option entails.
4. Establish communication with your doctor
Your doctor is your guide throughout this entire journey. Tap on their knowledge, experience, and expertise – you don’t have to feel anxious or nervous if you need further clarification or explanation. It can be challenging to completely grasp the difficult topic of cancer, so take the time to clarify your doubts and have all the information you need to move forward.
Setting appointments with your doctor may be a stressful and difficult experience. As such, bringing someone with you for support is a good idea. You may also write your questions in advance before your appointment so you can remember everything you wish to ask your doctor.
When it comes to deciding your cancer treatment, remember that you can take your time to think things through. Seeking support from your loved ones and talking to an oncologist or haematologist can help you gain greater peace of mind over the outcome.
At International Cancer Specialists, our team of specialist doctors and nurses are ready to navigate the complex world of cancer care with you. Aside from cancer screening tests, our cancer treatment centre provides diagnostic services and cancer management services to help coordinate your care in a safe and comfortable facility.