Staying mentally strong in the face of cancer

A cancer diagnosis is not only extremely physically demanding for a person as they begin treatment; a diagnosis is also very challenging mentally as well. For a patient beginning their journey through their disease, 20+ year cancer survivor, author, and CEO and President of The Cancer Club, Christine Clifford provides 9 tips to stay mentally and emotionally strong.

1. Take four steps forward: speak with an surgeon, an oncologist, a radiologist and a psychologist. These four people can help you get moving in the right direction.

2. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family. In adverse situations, you always learn who your friends are, and who they aren't. Leave the ones that are not supportive behind. Embrace the ones that are.

3. Realize that your life will never be the same. But that doesn't mean you won't have a good life or a better life. It just means it will be different. The sooner you can embrace your cancer, the sooner you will be able to move forward.

4. Research all the possibilities. Read books, visit the internet, and listen to tapes on the topic of cancer, but also on topics such as fear, serenity, hope, overcoming obstacles.

5. Do something special for yourself. Treat yourself to something that will make you feel pampered: a massage, a change in hair color, buy a new outfit, or take a trip.

6. Don't beat yourself up. Instead, ask yourself, "What am I supposed to learn from this challenge, and how might I do things differently?"

7. Find Happiness. Remember: YOU are the source of your happiness; not somebody else. A positive attitude will help tremendously in getting through your treatments.

8. Learn to forgive. Harboring negative feelings will only slow down the progress of moving forward. Gather the tools and skills to find forgiveness through your church/synagogue, counseling, books and tapes, family and friends.

9. Don't forget to laugh!TM Laughter is still the best medicine!