Once a person is diagnosed with cancer, suggestions from all quarters start pouring in in little time regarding what they should or should not do. Though their intentions may be noble, it often adds to the trials and tribulations of cancer patients and their family. A person with cancer already goes through myriad physical and psychological hardships as side effects. And taking care of one’s mental health is also of paramount importance in such times. Check out the following do’s and don’ts for cancer patients, compiled by our team of experts, that will help you undergo cancer treatment and cope with the various changes your body is going through.
Dos for Cancer Patients:
1. Learn to identify when your body says “No” and cooperate with it: When you live with cancer, sometimes you may be physically tired but feel like indulging in certain activities. In such cases, pay close attention to what your body says.
2. Maintain a healthy pattern of expressing yourself: This is to say, don’t hold back if you feel like crying. Venting out feelings can be really helpful as a part of cancer care. On the other hand, suppressing your feelings will do more harm than good.
3. Come to terms with the changes: you have to reconcile that cancer will change your life in more ways than one. It is wiser to assess those changes realistically and let go of certain things for living with cancer. Be open to a new lifestyle and accept changes as they come.
4. Find ways of coping: coping mechanisms differ from person to person. You should first try ways that previously helped you deal with stress. Listening to music, browsing the TV or the Internet, writing a journal, reading a book, etc., are some conventional ways of coping during cancer care. Try to recollect what helped you deal with a challenging situation before adopting those styles before resorting to other means.
5. Take one day at a time: When you develop cancer, it’s natural for you to feel the urge of knowing what’s ahead, and what the future might hold for you. However, it will only add to your anxieties and prevent you from living a normal life in the present. Cancer care is easier if you learn to take one day at a time.
6. Clear all your medical doubts: consult your medical team or health professionals whenever you have any doubts or questions about your condition or the treatment you are undergoing. Also, it is always advisable to seek a second opinion when it comes to cancer care if you are not sure.
7. Find relief: spend time in activities that make you feel more in control of your situation for coping with cancer effectively. It can be relaxation therapies, breathing exercises, etc., that work for you. Staying mentally and physically active can make a huge difference in your approach to the care of cancer. You can also consider joining cancer support groups that care for cancer patients.
8. Re-establish a connection with your faith: many people turn to re-evaluate their religious and spiritual beliefs following their diagnosis. Exploring your faith may be a source of strength and motivation for you.
9. Maintain a diary: a personal notebook or diary will help you keep a tab of your queries and doubts and be an outlet for you to express your thoughts and concerns. You can also carry them for your medical appointments or hospital visits.
10. Stay involved in your treatment: you should have a say in your treatment decisions regarding a proposed approach to cancer care
Don’ts For Cancer Patients:
1. Don’t settle for alternative therapies while undergoing your medical treatment without discussing it beforehand with your medical team.
2. Don’t hold back your feelings from your closest circle. It would help if you communicated how you feel to your inner circle.
3. Don’t hesitate to open up about your emotional health and go for counselling sessions if required.
4. Don’t suffer silently. Instead, various resources are available these days that can prove beneficial for you, including online initiatives present these days.
5. Don’t suffer from a sense of guilt if you’re not feeling optimistic. Though people would advise you the same, it’s easier said than done.
6. Don’t hold yourself responsible for your cancer diagnosis. Even though you’ve indulged in smoking and alcohol abuse, you are not to be blamed for being diagnosed with cancer.
7. Don’t succumb to the misconception that early death is inevitable for cancer patients. Thanks to path-breaking advancements in cancer treatment, there are ample options to treat the disease effectively. Over the years, this has also led to an increase in cancer survivors.
8. Don’t spend your energy trying to assess how others view your medical condition. Coping with cancer, in our society, comes with several unfounded myths and misconceptions about how others see you should be your last concern at this stage.
9. Don’t forget to express how thankful you are to your caregivers. Take your chances to show your gratitude towards those who care for cancer patients. Even little gestures, in this regard, can make a huge difference. After all, they are also in a way coping with cancer.
10. Don’t make cancer your only focus. When living with cancer, your goal should be to ensure your overall well being. Continue doing things that make you happy without worrying about your medical condition.
With these do's and don'ts for cancer patients, you can largely improve your cancer care, not only as a patient but also as a caregiver. A negative, despairing approach to the care of cancer makes things worse, but armed with these cancer do’s and don’ts, you can give a significant boost to your physical as well as mental well-being.
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