Steps to Take After a Cancer Diagnosis
You’ve just received a cancer diagnosis. What happens next? It’s normal to feel stunned and confused as you start a journey you hoped you’d never have to take. We’re here to help you get started, and we’ll be with you every step of the way.
While every cancer patient has unique needs and challenges, there are basic guidelines and recommendations for cancer treatment that can give you a better understanding of what to expect and how to maintain the best possible physical, emotional, and spiritual health during this time.
Take a deep breath.
And another one. It’s natural to feel numb, frightened, and shocked.
Lean on an advocate.
You’re starting a journey with a lot of new information you’ll need to understand and act upon. Having a trusted family member or friend with you for doctor appointments and treatment can often help you remember instructions or ask questions during a time when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
Learn all you can about your type of cancer and the stage it’s in. Learn about treatment options, their success rates, and their possible side effects. Knowing as much as you can about your cancer will help you decide how best to fight it.
You’ll be bombarded with a lot of information very quickly. Never be shy about asking questions or requesting more information. The more involved you are with your treatment and the more you understand the process, the better equipped you are to fight your cancer. You may find it helpful to write down your questions, and your physician’s answers, so you don’t have to rely on your memory when you’re under stress. Ask your doctor about side effects you should expect. Ask how they can be minimized. Ask what you should or shouldn’t do during treatment. Your treatment team can provide information on what has helped other patients in similar situations.
Rely on your personal treatment team.
Your treatment team will likely consist of a board-certified oncologist/hematologist and a nurse, pharmacist, and social worker – all committed to making your treatment as easy as possible. In addition, they can help you with many aspects of living with cancer and cancer treatments, from side effects such as fatigue or nausea to diet and exercise, and how to manage your work schedule or finances. For those with breast cancer, we also offer the largest Breast Cancer Support Group by attendance in the Greater Houston area where you can talk about what you’re going through and be inspired by others.
Trust your treatment plan.
Kelsey-Seybold Cancer Center follows nationally established treatment protocols, which means you receive the same caliber of cancer treatment here that you would at any leading cancer institution. Based on the type and stage of cancer, your doctor will develop your personal treatment plan. Recommended treatments may include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of these methods. Throughout your cancer journey, your treatment plan and status are tracked through our electronic medical record system. If you should have another healthcare need during your cancer treatment (such as a cold or the flu), your Kelsey-Seybold primary care physician has full access to your current medical records to coordinate your care and avoid possible conflicts or unintended interactions with your cancer treatment plan.
Cancer is a word, not a sentence. Our patients inspire us daily with their dignity and determination. We are honored to be part of your journey and for the trust placed in us. We’re always just a phone call away at 713-442-1081.