Living With This Condition
Getting a cancer diagnosis is a difficult experience. When you first hear about your diagnosis, you may feel anxious, scared, or overwhelmed. You may face a lot of treatment decisions and will have many questions. That’s why it is important to communicate with your healthcare team about any concerns you may have about important areas of your health including nutrition, exercise, and managing stress.
Questions About Diet and Nutrition
During treatment, you may have questions about your diet. Every patient is different and may have different nutritional needs. Here are some questions you can ask your healthcare team regarding your diet and nutrition while you are undergoing treatment:
- Will there be any adjustments to my diet while undergoing treatment?
- Will my appetite be affected?
- What should my diet consist of while I am on treatment?
- Should I add vitamins and nutritional supplements to my dietary routine?
- Is it important to drink fluids during my treatment?
Questions About Exercise
Today, many cancer treatment teams may encourage their patients to be as physically active as possible. Here are some questions you can ask your healthcare team regarding exercise. Before starting an exercise routine while you are undergoing treatment, be sure to discuss this with your doctor.
- Is it safe to exercise during cancer treatment?
- What type of activity should I do?
- If I am allowed to weight train, are there any limits to the amount of weight I should use?
- Are there any restrictions on physical activity?
- Are there any additional resources available to me?
Questions About Coping With Stress and Emotions During and After Treatment
A cancer diagnosis may have a major impact on patients. During treatment and recovery, people with cancer may feel fearful and anxious. Fear of treatment, doctor visits, and tests might also cause apprehension. It’s important to discuss any changes in your mood with your healthcare team. Here are some questions to ask to help guide that discussion.
To get more ideas to discuss with your doctor about emotional support during and after treatment, click here for a list of resources.
- If I feel anxious about treatment and tests, who can I talk to?
- Who can I reach out to for support?
- What are things I can try to do to help myself If I feel fearful or anxious?
- Are there any cancer support groups?
- When should I talk to my healthcare team about changes in my mood?
Building a Support Network
Facing a cancer diagnosis and treatment can be an overwhelming experience. It also affects family and friends. Family
members may be supportive, or they may be worried and afraid. This is an opportunity for you to get support from family
Ask for Help—Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help. It’s not a sign of weakness. Your loved ones will want to help. You may also find volunteers through house of worship or community groups. Professional helpers can also be hired to assist with physical care and other needs.
Determine Where You Need Support—You may need help with chores and errands, or you may need someone to take time off work to drive you to treatments. You may need help with daily errands or cooking meals. Find people that can be part of your core support network to help with these tasks.
Be a Team—It’s important that you, your family members, and other people who offer support function as a team. Talk about which decisions you should make together and which decisions you should make alone.
Join a Support Group—There are many resources out there offering help for cancer patients. Support groups are one way to help people with cancer and their loved ones who are affected by the disease. For cancer patients, this is an opportunity to expand their support network by being with others with similar cancer experiences.
Click here for a list of support organizations and online communities to expand your support network.
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