Being diagnosed with Cancer can make you feel paralyzed, overcome with mixed emotions of anxiety and confusion, unsure of what to do next or who to talk to. It is important to know that you are not alone. So do not fear.
Radical advances have recently been made in cancer treatments. With the breakthroughs in the medical field, what is unimaginable in the past are turning into realities and saving lives. The only constant truth is that “with KNOWLEDGE, there is POWER”.
5 Things every Cancer Patient should KNOW and DO
1. Confirm your diagnosis
In some cases, patients were misdiagnosed with the type or stage of their cancer and have to change their treatment plan in the process to start with a new treatment plan. This may cause additional burden to the patient’s body. Confirming your diagnosis can make you feel more confident in choosing the right treatment plan.`
2. Seek second opinion
For every door closed, another opens. One doctor may say that your cancer is incurable whileanother doctor might be willing to explore other treatment possibilities. A second opinion might give you more insights on your current condition and on other treatments available which suits your needs. This can make you feel more confident on your choice because you have evaluated all your options.
3. Know what to ask
Asking the right questions is the key to gaining knowledge. In your consultation, it is important that you ask questions that can help you evaluate your options better in order to get the best treatment plan possible. Here are some questions you may ask:
a. What does my diagnostic result tell me?
b. How many patients have you treated with similar case, type and stage?
c. What are the available treatments? What do you recommend for me and why?
d. What does a specific treatment procedure address? What are the possible side effects?
e. How will you help me manage side effects?
f. What happens if the treatment approach doesn’t work for me?
g. Where will all my treatments, appointments, tests, etc., take place?
h. How will you help me balance my cancer care for me to live a normal life?
4. Discover more treatment options
Some hospitals offer treatments which are not available at other facilities. Seeking second opinion in another healthcare facility can provide you with options or treatments that are more advanced, minimally invasive and tailored to your needs. Some examples are:
Delivers chemotherapy drugs directly into the tumor using a special catheter resulting in greater efficacy due to higher concentration in the localized area while minimizing harm to the other normal tissues. Another method is blocking the blood vessels supplying nutrients to the tumor to starve the tumor. Advantages include lesser trauma, reduced pain, immediate return to normal routine.
Radiation seeds, the size of a rice grain, are implanted directly inside the tumor, continuously emitting gamma-rays to rapidly kill cancer cells. Due to the high local dosage of radiation, it is far more efficient in killing cancer cells. The radioactive zone of the seed is limited to 1.78cm in diameter minimizing damage to the adjacent normal tissues. This reduces the side effects experienced by patients and allows patients to go about their daily activities immediately.
Utilizing the body’s immune system to fight cancer wherein immune cells are collected from the patient and cultured ex vivo then the cultured immune cells are re-infused into the patient’s body. This approach can enhance the patient to stimulate the body's own immune function, thereby inhibiting tumor growth, metastasis, and recurrence.
5. Find the right doctors and facility for your needs
When meeting with your doctor, observe the nurses and staffs to make sure you choose the best team or hospital to help you. A dedicated care team who is attentive to your needs and whom you feel comfortable with can help you feel strong and motivated during your treatment. An integrated approach is when your team of doctors and care team regularly communicate to discuss your treatment and ways on how to improve your overall health.
Service team associates
It can help address your questions with regards to hospital services, such as pick-up and drop-off, assist with travel papers, and other concerns.
Activities and tours
It can keep you occupied and keep your mind off the treatment for a little while. Beautiful sceneries and fun activities can uplift your mood.
*Surgery, in addition to the appropriate chemotherapy and radiotherapy, are effective in treating early cancer, but certain patients in late stage of cancer may not be tolerate surgery well as they can be relatively weak. A combination of carefully planned minimally invasive therapy, chemotherapy or radiotherapy can effectively reduce the side effects and discomfort of treatment and may help patient get better efficacy.