The most important thing for people with cancer is receiving effective treatment. But managing cancer involves much more than effective treatment. Any cancer diagnosis comes with physical and emotional challenges and profound life changes. At first, it may be difficult to realize exactly how big a change cancer may bring. As a result, people diagnosed with cancer may have difficulty adjusting. Consider becoming an active member of your treatment team. Participating in your care can help you understand your disease better, feel more in control, and be more satisfied with the decisions you make.
- Becoming a cancer patient is your new job. Being treated for cancer takes time and energy. You may have trouble adjusting to this life change.
- Learn about your disease and treatment options. This can help you understand the tests you undergo and the treatments that are recommended. If you’d like to know more about your melanoma, ask your doctor for the details of your cancer — the type, stage and prognosis. Ask for good sources of up-to-date information on your treatment options. Knowing more about your cancer and your options may help you feel more confident when making treatment decisions.
- Pay attention to how you feel emotionally and how you are coping. Professional help and support are available to you if you run into difficulties. Just talk to your treatment team and ask about the different support services available at the centre, for example, social worker, psychology, etc.
- Take care of yourself. Make your well-being a priority during cancer treatment. Get enough sleep, choose a diet full of fruits and vegetables, make time for gentle exercise on days you feel up to it, and find time for things you enjoy, such as reading, meditating or listening to music. If you need to, let others take care of you for a while. This doesn’t mean you’re helpless or weak. It means you’re using all your energy to get well!
- Ask questions. Don’t be afraid to ask your treatment team if you don’t understand something. Click here to read a list of suggested questions to ask your treatment team.
- Ask for help. Ask your spouse, a sibling, a friend, or all three to help you if you cannot keep up with all your responsibilities during treatment.
- Talk to your friends and family about how the diagnosis and treatment are affecting you. Your friends and family can provide a crucial support network for you during your cancer treatment. The more they understand, the better they are able to help you.
- Consider joining a support group. No one understands what you are going through the way another person with cancer understands. Ask your doctor for a referral to a counselor or other professional who works with cancer survivors.
- Talk with other melanoma survivors. You may find it helpful and encouraging to talk to other patients with melanoma. It can be helpful just getting to talk with other people who are in the same at.