Learning that you or someone you love has cancer can make you feel that your world is being turned upside down. Everything in life may suddenly feel out of control. A cancer diagnosis is shocking and overwhelming. However, the prognosis of certain cancers continues to improve and the chance of being cured continues to increase. Your care team at Hollings Cancer Center will provide you with resources for coping with your diagnosis and managing your treatment.
Learn as much as possible about your disease. At times, ignorance or a lack of understanding is your worst enemy. Arm yourself with information to lessen frustration and get the best results. Hollings provides a Patient & Family Resource Center on the 2nd floor, which provides educational materials, computer workstations and books for check out.
Do not hesitate to ask questions about your disease. You may wish to keep a notebook with all of your medical records and information about your diagnosis. Sometimes you can be too numb or too upset while at the hospital or health care provider's office and realize later that you forgot everything the health care provider had said. At such time, it may help to bring a family member or a trusted friend along with you.
Continue doing at least some of your usual, daily activities. You will still have things like grocery shopping, laundry, and going through the mail to do on a daily or weekly basis. Having some of these "regular" activities will help you cope and feel more in control.
Take care of your family relationships. Although your primary focus is on the cancer, it is important to also spend time as you normally would with your family, friends, and spouse. It is healthy to have fun together. Relieving stress and strengthening family relationships will allow you to cope better with your disease.
Use support groups. Find out about supportive services available at Hollings, such as the availability of social workers, spiritual care and support groups. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Each family's need for support is unique. Friends and family members will often ask, "Is there anything I can do to help?" Consider saying "yes" to this question and ask them to pick up your groceries, help with the laundry or housecleaning, pick up your children from their extracurricular activities, or make dinner. "Assigning" a friend or family member something to do will help him or her feel like he or she is contributing.
This content was provided by the National Cancer Institute. For more information, please visit www.cancer.gov.