Dealing with the Unthinkable: 5 Important Things to Do After You’re Diagnosed with Cancer

Officials estimate 1,762,450 Americans will get diagnosed with cancer in 2019.

Each of these individuals faces life-altering news that can leave them feeling lost. Don’t let yourself get overwhelmed with the situation.

Here are the five most important things to do after receiving a cancer diagnosis.

1. Research Your Diagnosis

When you’re finding out you have cancer, it’s easy for your mind to jump to the worst conclusions.

The first thing you need to do is research your specific diagnosis. Read up on the different stages and forms of your cancer.

Understand that cancer is not one disease. Cancer includes well over 100 complex yet similar diseases. Your diagnosis may not exactly resemble the types of cancer you’ve heard about.

It’s not the easiest thing to do, but research will help you understand what is happening to you.

2. Start a Journal After Getting Diagnosed with Cancer

Everything changes the moment you learn you have cancer. Often it’s necessary to re-evaluate our diets, routines, work-life, and lifestyle.

A simple journal can aid you in recording your journey and making informed decisions.

Here are some tips for your new journal:

  • Reserve a section for medical files, lab reports, test results, and scans
  • Keep a detailed record of everything you eat and the medicines you take
  • List out your symptoms throughout the day
  • Make a section for questions for your doctor

By noting these things daily, you and your doctor will have greater insight into your disease.

3. Consider Getting a Second Opinion

When you receive a new cancer diagnosis, getting a second opinion is advisable. Here are a few reasons why:

  • It may confirm or refute the diagnosis
  • Your insurance company might request it
  • Different doctors may recommend different treatment plans
  • Different doctors have different specialities and experience

Your first cancer diagnosis is overwhelming enough. You don’t need a doctor’s mistake to cause unnecessary harm. Consider getting a second opinion instead.

4. Find a Support Network

It’s completely normal to go through a range of emotions post-diagnosis. Some experience intense grief, disbelief, sadness, or fear. All are normal responses to the traumatic situation.

It’s healthy to consider networking with other people experiencing what you’re going through. There are currently hundreds of support groups for breast cancer and other cancers.

You could also consider:

  • Joining an online support community
  • Starting a new hobby
  • Planning family gatherings

It’s so important to reach out and make connections with people during this time of your life.

5. Begin Creating a Treatment Plan

Most people assume that a cancer diagnosis means intense chemotherapy. That may not always be the case. There are dozens of cancer treatment methods like:

  • Surgery
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Immunotherapy
  • Hormone therapy
  • Stem cell transplants
  • Precision medicine
  • Targeted therapy

The type of treatment you receive depends upon:

  • Your doctor’s opinion
  • The type of cancer you have
  • How advanced your cancer is

Cancer centers are a great resource for information and sometimes cancer services.

Coping with Your Cancer Diagnosis

Getting diagnosed with cancer can make you feel like you have little control. Fight these feelings by taking heed to these five important tips.

Take control of your health now, and brace yourself for the coming challenges you face.

For more health-related tips, be sure to check out our health blog.