What makes a single healthy cell turn into cancer? Answering that question has been our primary mission and key driving force since NFCR was founded in 1973. There are many forms of cancer and each presents its challenges and mysteries.
People diagnosed with cancer often say they were stunned when they heard the news. You may be unable to process what was said.
After the initial shock, consider the following steps:
Learn about your diagnosis
Cancer is a group of more than 120 diseases. It is important to understand your specific type of cancer, the diagnosis process, and the treatment. Ask questions, be proactive, access resources, and make informed treatment decisions. The unfamiliar medical language may confuse you. Ask your doctor to explain any medical terms you don’t understand.
Consider bringing a family member or friend to your appointments to help listen and take notes. Or record the conversation so you can replay it later. Tell your doctor and health care team your preferences for receiving information about your diagnosis, treatment, and chance of recovery.
The Internet is also a useful tool for finding cancer information. But you must use good judgment when searching online.
Find medical care
After receiving a cancer diagnosis, you should find an oncologist—a doctor who specializes in treating people with cancer. Ask your primary care doctor, family members, and friends for referrals.
Consider getting a second opinion. This involves visiting another doctor to gather more information about your diagnosis, confirm your diagnosis, or hear about a different approach to your treatment. Getting a second opinion can boost your confidence in making decisions about your cancer care. Many doctors encourage their patients to seek a second opinion.
Ask your doctor what clinical trials are available as treatment options for your type of cancer. A clinical trial is a research study to test whether a new treatment is safe, effective, and possibly better than standard treatment.
You will need a system to track all of your research, appointments, test results, records, and finances. Organization helps you gain the most value from the time spent with your health care providers so you can make well-informed decisions.
Find support for coping
Find support from family, friends, and community resources to manage emotional, practical, and financial issues.