Getting a cancer diagnosis in your family is not an easy thing to go through. Being diagnosed with cancer for your loved ones can be equally challenging and confusing. The confusion starts with choosing which hospital and doctor to consult, worrying about the side effects of the treatment you have to take, and so on.
While the physical, emotional, and spiritual changes that lie ahead in a cancer patient’s life are overwhelming, it is essential to face the necessity of planning to live with and fight cancer. Timely planning and making informed decisions help patients and their caregivers go a long way in this process.
Learn More about Your Cancer
Getting the diagnosis right and knowing more about your cancer should be the first step. Gathering knowledge about cancer can be done through online research and talking to people who have gone through the same phase. Using good judgment is necessary while doing healthcare research online. Some questions that you can ask your doctor and gather information around are
- What type of cancer do I have?
- What stage is it now?
- Is it slow-growing or fast-growing?
- How long do I have to start the treatment?
- What are the survival rates for this type of cancer?
Choose the Right Hospital for Your Case
Unlike other diseases, the facilities, equipment, and infrastructure for your cancer treatment are not available in all multi-specialty hospitals. In addition, cancer treatment requires a multidisciplinary team, including a surgical oncologist, medical oncologist, radiation oncologist, pain and palliative expert, nutritionist, etc. Hence it is crucial to take the cancer treatment from a comprehensive cancer hospital where experts from different disciplines work together for your cancer treatment.
While choosing the best hospital for the treatment, it is also necessary to keep in mind the doctors’ experience, the hospital’s success rate, etc. Since this task is not easy for the patients and their caregivers, Dcode Care has compiled a list of cancer hospitals in Bangalore using specified quality metrics, reviews from the patients/caregivers, and expert opinions and infrastructure of the hospitals.
Your first chance at beating cancer is your best chance, so choose the right hospital and team for your cancer treatment.
Explore All Your Treatment Options
Always seek a second opinion before starting the treatment. Discuss with your doctor all the treatment options available for you. Feel free to talk to them about the pros and cons of each type of treatment and discuss the approximate cost of each option.
Communicate with your doctor about your priorities, e.g., conserving an organ e.g. breast in case of breast cancer patients undergoing surgery. Making your preferences clear will help the doctor make a better treatment plan considering your common goal.
Here are some questions you can ask your doctor before starting your treatment.
- What will happen if I do nothing?
- How do my age, overall health, and other factors affect my options?
- What if I am pregnant or planning to get pregnant soon?
- What if I am breastfeeding?
- Which treatment is proven to work the best?
- What will be the side effects of the treatment
- How can the side effects of the treatment be managed?
- Are there any life-threatening side effects of the treatment?
- When will I be able to return to my normal activities?
- Will I get other treatment if this doesn’t work?
- Does this treatment offer cure, or is there any chance of recurrence?
- How long will the treatment last?
- Is there any need to change my diet once my treatment starts?
- What kind of home care will I need?
Plan Your Finances Ahead
Getting your financial aspects checked to cover the treatment costs is as important as your medical affairs.
- Compare the prices for different therapies before you start the treatment.
- Ask your insurance provider and know about the treatments that the insurance will cover the cost
- Enquire about any patient assistance programs if you have to use any patented medicines for your treatment.
- If there is no insurance coverage, you can take chemotherapy and similar therapies in a daycare center, which will help you save money.
- Find out if you are eligible to avail of a medical loan to fund the treatment.
Get Prepared for Possible Physical Changes
After getting a diagnosis, it is essential to prepare yourself for the expected physical change once your treatment starts
- Ask your doctor about the physical changes that you can expect.
- Check with your doctor on the impact of your treatment on daily activities.
- Modify your diet consisting of a variety of food to help you cope with the fatigue from cancer and the treatment.
- Light exercise and keeping oneself active helps a lot in managing physically as well as mentally.
Get a Support System
Once the treatment plan is clear, it is essential to have a support system to go through the whole treatment journey. These can be family, friends, colleagues, and a trained person who can help the patient with daily activities, childcare, etc. In addition, participating in a cancer support community lets you meet other patients and caregivers, which can help you help you figure out what to expect during the treatment.
Consider Complementary Therapies
While you make progress with your cancer treatment, you can also consider complementary therapies like yoga, herbal medicine, ayurvedic treatment, etc., to help you manage the side effects of the treatment. They can also help the patient manage the tiredness, stress, and anxiety from cancer and the treatment. Always consult with your doctor before doing any complementary therapy and ensure that it doesn’t interfere with your standard cancer treatment.
Dealing with Your Cancer Diagnosis
If you get diagnosed with cancer, do not panic. Modern medicine has developed advanced treatments and therapies that deliver good outcomes. If your cancer is in its early stages, chances are that you can be fully cured of cancer with minimal treatment. If your cancer is diagnosed in later stages (when it has spread beyond the primary site to other organs), cancer can be managed, probably a full cure is unlikely. Medical oncology offers a host of advanced therapies that deliver management of late-stage cancer while maintaining a good quality of life for the patient.