Sunday, January 20, 2013

For the Newly Diagnosed

 Receiving a diagnosis of cancer is a life changing event setting you on an unexpected journey. As you begin your journey, consider the following proactive actions to help set you up for success:
  • Take several deep breaths and try not to panic. Many cancers are treatable, so try and stay positive until you know all you can about your diagnosis
  • Utilize relaxation techniques that have worked for you in the past, or try new techniques
  • Consider avoiding researching on the internet UNTIL you have spoken with the specialist (and received confirmation of the cancer diagnosis and staging information). It is important to note that each cancer, each person is unique and timing of diagnosis/stage is important
  • As you move beyond the initial shock to begin your journey of surviving your cancer, you must make a commitment to yourself that you will be in control of your fight with cancer
  • Bring an advocate with you (family, friend, or paid advocate) during the planning sessions with your physician(s) to take notes
  • Understand your insurance benefit design (what is and not covered) to help you make decisions - in addition, ask to be assigned a case manager
  • Consider seeking a second (or third) opinion so you fully understand your treatment options
  • Organize your thoughts and be prepared for your doctor's appointments and bring a list of questions with you to your physician visits
  • Do not begin a treatment regimen without fully understanding its the benefits and risks
  • Ask for copies of all of your diagnostic tests (including all x-rays, scans, pathology reports, lab tests) as you begin to organize your treatment organizer/file
  • Make sure you have a good working relationship with your medical team: Are you receiving the answers to your questions? Does your physician understand your cultural values, wishes and needs/wants? Do you feel heard?
 Consider hiring Beacon Oncology Nurse Advocates if you are experiencing any of the following:
  • Has your cancer diagnosis left you feeling fearful, worried and unsure?
  • Do you feel lost in the complexities of the healthcare maze?
  • Do you need help making sense of the many available treatments and alternative approaches?
  • Are you feeling anxious trying to process complex medical terms and large amounts of information provided by your medical provider?
  • Could you use assistance preparing for your physician visits, thinking through questions that are important to you?
  • Do you want a peace of mind knowing that you have been empowered to make informed decisions regarding your cancer care?
We at Beacon Oncology Nurse Advocates can help you navigate and take control of your journey, so that you can chart a confident course to the best cancer care for you!

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