Patient tips Five pieces of advice I’d give someone newly diagnosed with cancer

Five pieces of advice I’d give someone newly diagnosed with cancer

Mark F. was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2015 and was treated by local doctors. A year later, he was diagnosed with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and underwent radiation therapy, chemotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy at City of Hope. He credits the grace of God and these five tips for helping him navigate his diagnosis and treatment plan.

  1. Learn to give up some pride. As a man, it was hard to set aside my ego and pride after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was a great spiritual learning experience and one of the greatest humbling experiences of my life. For me, this meant asking for help with yard work, washing cars and other tasks my family relied on me to do. With the help of my faith, I was able to learn how to be content in my situation.
  2. Be proactive in your treatment plan. As a cancer patient, be aggressive and proactive in your treatment plan. By saying being aggressive, I mean you should research your cancer type and read all the reports of your treatments. Be proactive in asking questions. Consider writing down your questions and concerns in a journal ahead of your doctor’s appointments, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed or experiencing brain fog. Don’t be afraid to talk about your diagnosis with your care team.
  3. Research your care team. Investigate and find out who your doctor is. Feel free to look up the provider who’ll be administering your treatment. You may have a long, frequent relationship with your care team. I have researched all my City of Hope providers, and I was extremely impressed and comfortable with them.
  4. Remember decisions about treatments are yours. As a Cancer Fighter CareNet volunteer, I sometimes talk with people who think that because a friend or family member received chemotherapy and passed away, they should be apprehensive about adding chemotherapy to their own treatment plan. I remind them that each of us has our own destiny. Don’t let anyone influence you on your treatment. You may be one chemotherapy treatment, radiation therapy treatment or another option away from feeling better.
  5. Don’t let chemotherapy conquer you. Instead, you conquer it. Don’t be afraid to take chemotherapy. Sometimes, that’s the best option for you. I’ve undergone chemotherapy for almost three years, every three weeks. No, I’m not saying that you won’t be fatigued, and you may feel like you want to give up. Continue to live your life as much as you can. Work through your fatigue when it’s safe. Keep pushing and don’t give up.

A cancer journey can be overwhelming.

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