Coping and supportBy Mayo Clinic staff
A diagnosis of cancer, whether yours or your child's, presents numerous challenges. Remember that no matter what your concerns or the prognosis, there are resources and strategies that can make dealing with cancer easier. Here are some suggestions for coping:
Learn about the cancer. Find out details of your or your child's cancer. The more you know, the more you can participate in treatment decisions. In addition to talking with your doctor, look for information in your local library and from reliable Internet sources.
The National Cancer Institute answers questions from the public over the phone at 800-4-CANCER (800-422-6237). Or contact the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 (800-227-2345).
- Be proactive. Although you may feel tired and discouraged, don't let others — including your family and your doctor — make important decisions for you. It's important that you take an active role in your or your child's treatment.
- Maintain a strong support system. Having a support system and a positive attitude can help you cope with the challenges cancer brings. Although friends and family can be your best allies, they sometimes may have trouble dealing with your illness. If so, the concern and understanding of a formal support group or of others coping with their own cancer or that of their child can be especially helpful.
- Take time for yourself. Eating well, relaxing and getting enough rest can help manage the stress and fatigue of cancer. Also, plan ahead for the times when you may need to rest more or limit what you do. If your child has cancer, one of the most important things you can do is take care of yourself. As a caregiver, you need to have the strength and emotional reserves to meet your child's needs.
- Stay active. Having cancer doesn't mean you have to stop doing the things you enjoy or normally do. For the most part, if you feel well enough to do something, go ahead and do it. It's important to stay involved as much as you can. If your child has cancer, try to keep his or her life as normal as possible.
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