What I wish I knew: Advice for newly diagnosed patients from cancer survivors

August 27, 2018 | by Molly Peck

Receiving a cancer diagnosis can unleash many difficult emotions. Many newly diagnosed patients find it helpful to talk to others who have — or have had — cancer. Getting advice from people who know what you are going through is always helpful, especially if you feel overwhelmed by a change in your life.
On the City of Hope Facebook page, we asked cancer survivors for advice that they would give newly diagnosed patients. Here is a look at their best responses.

Don't give up

Staying positive goes a long way during treatment. Continuing to believe in yourself and in the fact that you can beat cancer can help keep away depression and fatigue, as well as making you feel better on a day-to-day basis. Try to have a good attitude toward life and have your family and friends remind you to fight cancer every day. Don’t underestimate the power of your own ability to be positive!

Have faith

Our Facebook community was adamant about the power of spiritual well-being. Trust the universe to bring you out of this or try diving a little deeper into your faith. Finding spiritual peace can put you in a calmer state of mind, and mental strength starts with eliminating stress. Many survivors felt that a strengthened relationship with their spiritual side played a significant role in getting them through cancer.  

Listen to your doctors

Following the doctor’s orders is at the top of the list of important advice. Talk to your doctors — understand why they need you to do what they say and make sure they know all of your symptoms so they can make you more comfortable. Get to know your oncologist, and make sure you trust them. If not, consider getting a second opinion. Let your doctors help you, it is exactly why they are there. If they know how you are feeling, physically and emotionally, they can give you the best care.

Cry when you need to cry

Let yourself feel however you feel about cancer. It will bring up many emotions at once — many that might be difficult to deal with. Staying positive is important, and don’t forget that laughter is the best medicine — but it is OK to fall apart at times as well. Don’t suppress your feelings; it will only make you feel worse. Do not feel guilty for laughing and trying to be happy, and don’t feel guilty about feeling terrible either. Use your support system to help you through whatever you are feeling. When you feel down, count on your friends and family to give you the support you need, and then cheer you up again.

Let your doctor take care of the cancer

Your life is not over! Many survivors put an emphasis on trying to go about their daily routines as consistently as possible. Let your doctor take care of the cancer; that is what they are here for. Your job is to keep living and try your best to go about your daily life. Take care of yourself, and let the doctors worry about the cancer.
The best advice comes from people who have been in your situation. Cancer survivors are the authorities on cancer. 
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