New Treatment for Early Stage Lung Cancer
How to Prepare for Cancer Treatment
A cancer diagnosis can be unexpected and frightening to hear. After you have been diagnosed with cancer you will need to prepare for whatever type of treatment you choose to pursue. Most cancers are treated through radiation or chemo therapy, and there are specific steps you can take when preparing for any of the types of treatment. Your cancer may be overwhelming from a physical and emotional standpoint; however, there are steps you can take to get the support you need and take care of yourself prior to treatment procedures.
Taking Care of Your Emotional Health
Process your feelings.This is important, and will take time. A cancer diagnosis and the news of your upcoming treatment can be overwhelming, and lead to feeling confused and anxious.Work through these feelings as you need to.
- It can help to write down a list of your concerns and of questions you have about cancer and your treatment. Then, bring this list to your doctor, and see if he or she can answer the questions outright.
Address your concerns.Both a diagnosis of cancer and news about the course of treatment can create anxiety. Talk these through with your doctor, and also find out what side effects and potential physical changes you can expect from the treatment.
- Chemotherapy and radiation therapy often have unpleasant side-effects, including hair loss and weight loss.
- Find out what the best- and worst-case outcomes of your cancer and treatment. Although the worse-case option may be hard to hear at first, it’s best to know the possible outcome ahead of time.
Lean on family and friends.It’s important to keep in communication with your loved ones after a cancer diagnosis, and as you prepare for treatment. They can reassure and comfort you through the treatment process, and
- Friends and family can often provide tangible support, too. During the course of your cancer treatment, ask loved ones to run errands, bring you meals, and help out with housework.
Preparing for Radiation or Chemotherapy
Make a treatment plan.This should be your first step after your cancer diagnosis. To begin, locate a cancer center or oncologist. Ask your primary care doctor for referrals or recommendations for an oncologist that specializes in your type of cancer.
- If you live in the United States then you can call the American College of Surgeon’s Commission on Cancer at 312-202-5085 or visit their website to find an accredited cancer treatment center.Look into your local cancer treatment centers as well.
- If you do not live in the United States, then you can visit the International Cancer Information Service Group website for a complete list of cancer treatment centers and phone numbers in your country.Try to find the cancer treatment center that is closest to you.
- Meet with your new cancer specialist or oncologist. It’s important to meet face-to-face as soon as possible; cancer can be an aggressive disease, and you’ll want to begin treatment as soon as possible. Any preparation you do before treatment will help ease your feelings of anxiety.
- Bring up any questions related to treatment. These can include questions about the length of ongoing treatment, success rates and risks and side-effects you may experience from the treatment.
- Ask the oncologist about alternative treatments or remedies they may have for your cancer.
Make lifestyle changes.Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can take months, and may require dramatic lifestyle adjustments. You may need to take time off from work if the treatment will temporarily incapacitate you or require you to relax.
- To make the most of your time at home, rearrange your living space so everything is situated for comfort and convenience.Find a set of bedside drawers to keep your medications in, and make sure you have easy access to water from your bed or couch.
Go in for your radiation simulation.You’ll only need to do this if you’re undergoing radiation therapy. A radiation simulation is done so your oncologists can find the best position to target the tumor and kill the cancer cells during your upcoming treatments. The simulation also gives the doctors an opportunity to determine what dose of radiation you’ll receive.
- You will not receive actual radiation during the simulation.
Eat healthy meals.This will strengthen your body and increase your energy before treatment. Throughout your treatment process, your tastes may change and you may also experience nausea. To ensure that you get the nutrition you need, try to eat more foods that are high in protein and calories.
- Buy food that doesn’t require lots of preparation or cook meals in advance and freeze them before your treatment. This will help make the healing process easier and more relaxing.
- It’s also important to keep hydrated during your treatment. Water is best, but drinking soda or even broth is better than nothing. Keep fluids around you in every room of your house.
- Speak to your oncologist or cancer specialist before you implement a diet change, especially if you have experienced weight loss.
Enlist help from a caregiver, friends, or family.It’s crucial that you have a support network during this time. You’ll feel mentally and physically exhausted, and will need the emotional (and sometimes physical) support of people close to you.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Contact friends and family or hire a housekeeper to assist you with chores such as cleaning, cooking, laundry, and more.
- Depending on the severity of your cancer treatment, you may need to hire a caregiver to administer medication on a regular basis or to help you with activities such as eating or bathing.
Preparing for Surgery
Talk with your surgeon about what surgery will entail.Find out as much information as you can about the side effects, benefits, and risks of the procedure.If the cancer is resectable (can be removed completely with surgery), then surgery is often used as a first step in cancer treatment. If the surgery works, your cancer will be removed; if surgery doesn’t remove all of the malignant tissue, you may need to be treated with chemotherapy or radiation. Ask your doctor:
- “What are the chances of this surgery removing all the cancer?”
- “Will I need to receive any other treatments before or after surgery?”
- “Exactly what will you do or remove in this surgery?”
Take the tests that your doctor requires.In the weeks before surgery, you’ll need to visit your doctor’s office to take a number of pre-surgery tests. These tests will help your surgeon get a full picture of your health, and then plan your surgery.Pre-surgery tests will include:
- Blood tests, to measure your blood sugar level, blood cell counts, how quickly your blood clots, and how well your liver and kidneys are working.
- Chest x-ray to check your lungs.
- Electrocardiogram (EKC) to evaluate your heart’s electrical system.
Prepare for the operation itself.Work with your doctors and follow any directions they give you. Prior to surgery, you should avoid eating food or drinking anything for 12 hours.
- Your doctor may also ask you to shave hair off of the area of your body closest to the cancer, so they can make a clean incision.
- Be careful to protect yourself from getting sick prior to surgery. Your immune system may be weakened from the cancer and treatment, so make sure that you are not exposed to sick people, avoid large crowds, and practice good hand hygiene to avoid getting sick.
Make a recovery plan.After your surgery, you’ll need to spend time recovering at your home. Depending on the severity of your surgery, you may have decreased mobility at first. In this case, you should have someone rearrange things about your house so you don’t need to go up and down stairs.
- Talk to your doctor and see if you need to be on a special or modified diet for any length of time following your surgery.
- Also ask your doctor about how long it will be before you can return to your normal daily activities. For example, you may not be able to drive or have sex for two to three weeks after your surgery.
- When undergoing chemotherapy or radiation therapy, talk to your doctor about any and all vitamins, supplements, and over-the-counter or prescription medications you’re taking. Various substances can interact with the chemo treatment, so your doctor may ask you to stop taking certain things.
- When performing surgery, in addition to removing cancerous tissue from your body, doctors will also look for additional cancerous cells.
- If you smoke cigarettes, stop before your surgery and try to make this change permanent. Smoking can lessen the flow of blood and slow down your recovery from surgery.Smoking also increases your risk for cancer.
Video: New Prostate Cancer Radiation Treatment at UH Seidman Cancer Center
Emmy Awards 2013: Nominations Announced
Walk this way
BAZAAR Commandments: Your Guide to Cocktail Attire
The Long Walks: Hazards and Recovery
A Call for MS Volunteerism
Zoe Ball’s Boyfriend Found Dead At His London Home
Prescription for Safety
Peanut Butter Cup Pie
How to Prevent Gallbladder Disease
Jude Law arrested