Where Do I Begin?
The first critical step to managing your cancer treatment is making the decision to empower yourself. At Cancer Support Community, “empower yourself” is a phrase they use to describe the ongoing process of making a personal effort to become educated about your cancer diagnosis, your cancer treatment, your healthcare team, and ways to improve your overall well being. To become “empowered” means that you choose to adopt a series of actions, behaviors, and attitudes that can improve the quality of your life. It’s not about making monumental changes but rather small incremental steps such as asking questions or self-educating to gain a sense of confidence and control as you move forward with your cancer treatment.
Cancer is treated in a multidisciplinary way, meaning several different types of healthcare professionals will be managing your care. The selection of your oncologist and healthcare team is one of the most important decisions you need to make and manage throughout your treatment for cancer. An effective treatment for cancer requires a considerable effort by both you (the patient), and your physician. Forming a strong relationship with your cancer care team will be crucial to managing your cancer journey.
Your active participation in the choices you make with your healthcare team can make a big difference in your cancer experience and quality of life. One way you can do this is to prepare a list of questions for each appointment. Also, be sure to ask for clarification of any terms you do not understand. If you do not feel like you will be able to develop a good relationship with your doctor, consider finding another one. And remember: It is always ok to get a second opinion on your diagnosis and treatment plan from another doctor.
Information provided by Cancer Support Community.