A cancer diagnosis often comes with many emotions and feelings – surprise, shock, anger, fear, sadness, hopelessness, and others. While you are processing these emotions, your doctor is likely giving you information on your diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, services available to you, and next steps.
Many patients report their initial meeting a complete blur and the only word they heard was ‘cancer’. Studies show that many cancer patients don’t fully understand their prognosis, type of cancer or the kinds of treatment(s) available to them. In many cases the patient is too overwhelmed with all of the information and they are unable to fully grasp their disease.
There are many ways to help someone get focused and really understand their unique cancer. Here are 5 tips to help keep your mind from overloading and gaining focus on how:
- Do not rely solely on the internet for information. The internet is a great resource for research, however, there is so much out information there, how are you to know what is accurate and what is not? Some stories and articles will scare the bejeezus out of you! Someone that is newly diagnosed will already have a lot of information to decipher. Recognizing inaccurate and misleading information can take up a lot of quality time that could have been better spent elsewhere. Focus on collecting the information from your doctor(s) and really understand your diagnosis from them first to better assist your research efforts.
- Create your support system. You need to surround yourself with supportive people and designate a specific caregiver. Let this person be a part of all your meetings with the doctor(s). She or He can be another set of ears, someone to take notes for you and ask questions you may not be thinking of. This not only gives you the opportunity to just absorb the information but it also provides you with an advocate to walk with you through your journey.
- Ask questions! There is that old saying ‘No question is a dumb question’ and it is absolutely true, especially when you are dealing with uncharted waters. Be confident in asking your doctor(s) anything. They went to medical school for 12+ years. You may have just found out about your diagnosis that day or days/weeks ago. They understand that. If they say something you don’t understand, be sure to stop them and ask them to explain it in a way you will. It is safe to say that most doctors really are there to help you. The better educated you are about your diagnosis, the less fear you might have.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Keeping a healthy diet will not only keep your immune system sound it will also help reduce your fatigue and stress. 65-70% of cancer patients are malnourished. This can make you weak, tired, unable to concentrate, prone to more illnesses, or not fit for treatment. Talk to your doctor about what will be the appropriate diet for you to keep yourself physically and mentally strong.
- Join a support group. Having a support system is so important when you are diagnosed with cancer. Having someone who has experienced what you are about to go through gives you the assurance that you are not alone. Joining a support group can give you an opportunity to share your fears with others who are or have experienced a similar illness. It can give you the additional support to help you cope, get advice, share your feelings with those that likely are experiencing everything that you are. To find out a local support group near you visit:
If you know of someone in need of cancer treatment please forward our article on to them. We are partnered with excellent cancer treatment centers throughout the US that can help you navigate your journey.
Take Action Against Ovarian Cancer This September
For many women and families living with ovarian cancer, September is a time of hope.
September is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, when teal ribbons worn over the hearts of people across the country draw attention to a disease that claims the lives of five Canadian women every day.
For many women and families living with ovarian cancer, September is a time of hope. Hope for scientific progress and amplified advocacy efforts. For others, September stirs feelings of anger and frustration.
Ovarian cancer continues to be the most fatal of all women’s cancers. Less than half of those diagnosed live to see another five years. And this hasn’t changed significantly over the last five decades.
So we walk — and we rally — for precious time. Together, we will stop at nothing for just one more day with the women we love.
The Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope is where the community affected by this disease finds common ground. It’s where concerned Canadians come together to take action, a time to mark milestones and band together in support of improved outcomes for generations to come.
For women who have been diagnosed, the walk is a unique opportunity to meet others who can relate to the experience firsthand. These connections are vital and empowering, but they are also few and far between, particularly when it comes to ovarian cancer.
This disease impacts 1.4 per cent of Canadian women. Taken with the vast geography of our country and the devastating mortality rate associated with ovarian cancer, it can be years before a woman comes face to face with someone who understands exactly where she is coming from. Too often this can lead to a deep sense of isolation.
But the walk creates the time and space to come to know others who have been affected. I’ve heard this event referred to as a beacon of light, a translator in a foreign land when coming to terms with an unexpected diagnosis. First time participants with ovarian cancer are often struck by the realization that they are not alone in the journey when they finally find their “teal sisters” on walk day.
Now the relationships started at the walk will have a permanent home, and it’s a direct result of event proceeds. This year’s walk brings highly-anticipated news with the introduction of OVdialogue, a new online community where women with this disease can share their experiences, encourage one another, and ultimately find healing.
While there is no cure for ovarian cancer (yet), we are in this together. Walking with and for one another, we’re hell bent on changes that ensure women with this disease live fuller, better and longer lives.
This Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, have the ladyballs to take action against ovarian cancer. This can mean anything from walking with us, making a donation, or sharing this article with someone with ovarian cancer so that she can get to know others who have been in her shoes.
For more information visit ovariancanada.org.