Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
A diagnosis of cancer can be extremely challenging. Even when a full recovery is likely, you may worry about a recurrence of the disease. But no matter what your concerns or prognosis, you're not alone. Here are some strategies and resources that may make dealing with cancer easier:
- Know what to expect. Learn enough about your cancer to feel comfortable making treatment decisions. Ask your doctor to tell you the type and stage of your cancer, as well as your treatment options and their side effects. The more you know, the more confident you'll be when it comes to making decisions about your own care. Look for information in your local library and on reliable websites. Start with the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.
- Maintain a strong support system. Friends and family can be your best allies as you face your cancer diagnosis. They often want to help, so take them up on offers to make meals or provide transportation to and from appointments. Sometimes the concern and understanding of a formal support group or other cancer survivors can offer unique emotional support. You may also find you develop deep and lasting bonds with people who are going through the same things you are. There are also support groups for the families of cancer survivors.
- Set reasonable goals. Having goals helps you feel in control and can give you a sense of purpose. But don't choose goals you can't possibly reach. You may not be able to work a 40-hour week, for example, but you may be able to work at least half time. In fact, many people find that continuing to work can be helpful.
- Take time for yourself. Eating well, relaxing and getting enough rest can help combat the stress and fatigue of cancer. Also, plan ahead for the downtimes when you may need to rest more or limit what you do.
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