Tremendous advances have recently been made in the treatment of cancer. Breakthroughs unimaginable a generation ago are now saving lives as a matter of course. The one consistent enabling truth in the fight against cancer throughout the years has always been: Knowledge is power.
4 things every Caymanian cancer patient must do.
1. Get a second opinion.
A patient needs to be aware of all treatment options and to feel confident and informed about his or her treatment decision. Initial diagnoses are not always right. A second opinion is a chance to gain more knowledge and insight into the accuracy of the initial diagnosis and to better understand additional needs like nutritional planning, the management of side effects, and the importance of family support during cancer treatment.
2. Find the right doctors.
Getting advice from top cancer doctors about what to do when diagnosed, especially with advanced-stage cancer, is a critical step in developing the right treatment plan. One out of five patients who receive a cancer diagnosis learn their disease is already in an advanced stage. Advice from physicians experienced in treating the specific type of cancer is especially important for these individuals.
3. Know what questions to ask.
Gaining knowledge starts with asking the right questions. Cancer Treatment Centers of America*(CTCA) has compiled a list of 10 questions to help newly diagnosed patients understand the nature of their disease, and be more prepared, knowledgeable and better able to understand the recommended approach to their treatment.
4. Stay strong for the fight.
If you are a cancer patient, your body is not only fighting the disease, but coping with potentially difficult side effects. The stronger you remain during treatment, the more prepared you will be for the fight. The side effects of treatment can make eating difficult, which affects the patient’s ability to fuel the healing process. A dietitian on the care team is therefore critical to monitor nutrition and prescribe a plan to build much needed muscle mass. Cancer care that integrates traditional treatments like chemotherapy, radiation and surgery where indicated, with additional therapies that boost energy and strengthen the immune system, helps patients tolerate treatment as they fight their disease.