Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
Doctors consider hairy cell leukemia a chronic form of cancer because it never completely goes away. Even if you achieve remission, you'll likely require follow-up visits with your doctor to monitor your cancer and your blood counts. Knowing that your cancer could come back at any time can be stressful. To help you cope, you might consider trying to:
- Find enough to feel comfortable making decisions about your care. Learn about your hairy cell leukemia and its treatment so that you can feel more confident about making decisions about your treatment. Having a better idea of what to expect from treatment and life after treatment can make you feel more in control of your cancer. Ask your doctor, nurse or other health care professional to recommend some reliable sources of information to get you started.
- Connect with other cancer survivors. While friends and family provide an important support network during your cancer experience, they can't always understand what it's like to face cancer. Other cancer survivors provide a unique network of support. Ask your doctor or other member of your health care team about support groups or organizations in your community that can connect you with other cancer survivors. Organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society offer online chat rooms and discussion boards.
- Take care of yourself. You can't control whether your hairy cell leukemia comes back, but you can control other aspects of your health. Take care of yourself by eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables and by exercising regularly. A healthy body can more easily fend off infections, and should you ever need to be treated for cancer again, you'll be better able to cope with the side effects of treatment.
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