By Matt Rhoney
According to the National Cancer Institute, in 2015, an estimated 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. and 589,430 people will die from the disease. Some of the most common cancers include, but are not limited to, breast cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and pancreatic cancer. While many individuals may not develop cancer, it will undoubtedly affect everyone in one way or another.
If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis, you may be emotionally and mentally overwhelmed by the information and your head may be full of questions. While your doctor should address any questions you may have, you may not know where to start. These questions are a good starting point and will help you get the valuable information you need to be better informed about your health and your diagnosis:
Is My Cancer Treatable?
This is an incredibly important question to ask. Depending on the type of cancer you have and the stage it’s at all will help your doctor determine how treatable your cancer will be. Treatment options vary for every patient and while one type of treatment, such as surgery, works well for one person, radiation is a better option for another.
What is Your Experience Treating This Type of Cancer?
As patients in the world of medicine, our knowledge is often very limited and we rely on the experience and honesty of our doctors. While most doctors are committed to making the most accurate of diagnoses, they are not immune to human error. According to Long Island Medical Malpractice Lawyer, Stephen M. Cohen, if you received a delayed cancer diagnosis or your doctor failed to diagnose your cancer, you may be a victim of medical malpractice; you deserve to have above standard care.
If you second guess your diagnosis or don’t feel like your diagnosis is being handled properly, you have the right to a second opinion. Far too often, patients are too afraid to ask doctors questions about their professional experiences. It’s your health, you have the right.
What Kind of Side Effects Can I Experience From the Cancer and/or Treatments?
While your doctor may not be able to answer this question with full accuracy, he or she should be able to tell about what to expect. What you may feel and experience all depends on the stage of your cancer and the treatment route you choose to take. While some patients struggle with everyday activities, others are able to continue to work. Remember, the more information you receive can help you better prepare yourself and your family as you are on your journey.
When Should I Tell My Family and Friends?
There’s no right or wrong answer for this, but many doctors recommend taking some time to figure out a treatment plan and gathering all the information you need (complete diagnosis, type of cancer, etc.) before telling children, extended family, and friends. Remember, when you share the news there will be many questions for you and you will want and need to know how to answer them.
Is There Support Available?
Family and friend support is always welcomed and necessary, but for many individuals facing a cancer diagnosis, it can feel lonely. Unless another family member or friend has experienced cancer, it’s not very relatable. Many doctors, working with many patients like you, are likely to have a list of resources and can recommend a support group to help you get started and work through the issues that you and your family may be facing.
Matt Rhoney is an avid reader on trending topics and a writer in his spare time. On the beautiful coast of North Carolina you will usually find him catching up on the latest news with locals or on the beach surfing, kayaking or paddle boarding. He loves to write pieces on health, fitness, and wellness, but often writes about families and safety.