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Cancer may have entered your life, but it doesn’t mean you have to let it take over. Although your life has changed, you are still the same person. You are still the unique, whole individual you have always been. You didn’t ask for this disease. But you can fight back. You are still living and breathing, and surviving. Don’t let cancer make you forget this. Through empowerment, you can create a new and meaningful life for yourself.
Becoming an empowered cancer survivor means taking an active role in your cancer care. It means taking back the power that cancer has tried to take away. It means you become your own advocate for your health and your life.
It may seem like a daunting task and one that you don’t feel up to taking on. But it doesn't have to be insurmountable. And it doesn’t mean you have to assume the responsibility for your cancer care all by yourself. You can define empowerment in your own way.
For example, patient empowerment can be as simple as asking questions of your doctor and being part of the decision-making process. It can mean recruiting others, such as family and friends, to help sort through all the information. You may also feel empowered through support and encouragement from other cancer survivors. Likewise, supporting a cause or policy regarding cancer may help you find empowerment.
Empowerment during cancer care may help you in some of the following ways:
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH PROVIDER PRIOR TO MAKING DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR TREATMENT.
You may feel awkward or hesitate to ask questions or express your concerns to your doctor. You may also find it difficult to comprehend the information you receive from your doctor and other sources. It is important to communicate with your doctor so you can feel good about your treatment and empowered during your care.
The following are suggestions for communicating with your doctor:
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