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Not only is the reality of a cancer diagnosis shocking, but also the tough discussions about what a patient can expect in the future can be even more daunting. Hearing the words ‘cancer battle’ doesn’t inspire confidence in a patient, even if their prognosis is favorable. With these negative emotions, finding peace with a diagnosis can help make life feel less ruled by doctor’s appointments and treatments. As with other problems in life, each person copes differently and in their own way. However, here are some tips for someone to consider when learning to cope with a cancer diagnosis.
Have a Positive Outlook
After a cancer diagnosis, a patient may find themselves feeling hopeless, scared, or even angry. All of these emotional reactions are normal. Despite being normal, all of these emotional feelings can be very taxing on a person’s psychological and physical state. Overcome these negative emotions by expressing your feelings to a trusted family member or friend. Talking about your feelings is the best way to confront them and gain support from loved ones. Another option is to talk to a professional therapist. There are many therapists who specialize in helping people with health complications overcome fears and depression. Gaining a positive outlook about your cancer has also been shown to improve the effectiveness of the treatments that you receive.
Learn About Your Disease
Patients sometimes feel out of control during cancer treatment because it feels like doctors begin to make all of the decisions. Even though your doctor will do his or her best to care for you, a way to feel better about your disease can come through education. Start by asking your healthcare team more about your treatments and disease, as well as turning to trusted medical resources to read more on your own. As you think of questions, write them down and bring them into your appointments. By educating yourself on your disease, you can begin to feel like you’re participating in your care instead of being controlled by it.
Take Care of Yourself
Take time every day to focus on hobbies and activities that make you happy. Whether you dive back into your favorite hobbies or find new ones, taking time to focus on something other than your health can make you feel great. If you and your doctor feel that you are well enough, begin an exercise regime. Exercise can make you feel well and sometimes even make you respond to your treatments more positively. Yoga and meditation are also low-impact alternative treatment practices that help you body and your mind, respectively, and can each give you time to relax and focus on positive emotions.
For some preventable cancers, like mesothelioma, legal action can be taken against parties responsible for the events that led to a patient’s eventual diagnosis. While this action won’t improve your health, finding justice can create peace of mind for you and your loved ones.
What are some other ways that you've found helped you find peace during your cancer journey? Share you advice with supporters in our online community.