Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming and frightening. You can help yourself to feel more in control by taking an active role in your health care. To help you cope, try to:
- Learn enough about anal cancer to feel comfortable making decisions about your care. Write down questions and ask them at the next appointment with your doctor. Have a friend or family member come to appointments with you to take notes. Ask your health care team for sources of information. Learn enough about your condition to feel comfortable making decisions about your treatment. Contact the National Cancer Institute for information online or by telephone at 800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237). The American Cancer Society also offers support and information on its website and by telephone at 800-227-2345.
- Create a support network. Having friends and family supporting you can be valuable. You may find it helps to have someone to talk to about your emotions. Other people who may provide support include social workers and psychologists — ask your doctor for a referral if you feel the need to talk to someone. Talk with your pastor, rabbi or other spiritual leader. Other people with cancer can offer a unique perspective, so consider joining a support group — whether it's in your community or online. Contact the American Cancer Society for more information on support groups.
- Take time for yourself. Let people know when you want to be alone. Quiet time to think or write in a journal can help you sort out your emotions.
- Take care of yourself. Prepare yourself for treatment by making healthy lifestyle choices. For instance, if you smoke, quit smoking. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Get exercise when you feel up to it, but check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program. Try to get enough sleep so that you wake feeling refreshed. Talk to your doctor if you're having trouble sleeping. Try to control stress by prioritizing what's important to you. These healthy choices make it easier for you to cope with the side effects of treatment.
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