Fighting cancer isn’t just about treating a disease. A patient’s battle with cancer is riddled with mental, spiritual, physical, and financial hurdles. Each of these hurdles pose new and unique challenges that can not be overcome with medicine alone. During a patient’s fight, paperwork from imaging centers and insurance companies can accumulate into mountains. Doctors’ visits and hospital rooms can become increasingly irretating and tiresome. And all of this occurs while the patient is dealing with day-to-day stress and pain of their illness. So what are some things that you can do to overcome the rigors or fighting cancer?
find trusted professionals
A healthy doctor-patient relationship is vital to fighting cancer. You need to find a doctor that you can trust. Start by asking your primary care physician for a referral. Next, utilize your local hospital’s patient referral service to get a list of oncologists and other specialists in your area. You should also ask friends, family and colleagues for their recommendations. Always remember: You are not alone in this. Everyone knows somebody that is affected by cancer.
Other great resources include:
- The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
- The American Medical Association (AMA)
- The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
- The American Osteopathic Association (AOA)
- The American College of Surgeons (ACS)
When looking for a doctor, use every resource available to you, whether old or new. Go online to explore the backgrounds of oncologists and cancer specialists around the country. Public and medical libraries contain valuable information as well.
get a second opinion
When it comes to beating cancer, two heads really are better than one. After your doctor diagnoses your disease and suggests a treatment plan, it is always wise to seek out a second opinion. Do not worry about offending your doctor. In the medical community, a second set of eyes is always welcome.
Your oncologist should be able to refer you to another specialist. You can also utilize online resources in seeking out a second opinion. Either way, it is important that you involve your primary doctor in the process, as he/she will need to make your medical records available for review.
The national cancer associations (listed above) can also help you get a trustworthy second opinion.
Tweaking your diet can help you win your fight against cancer. Most experts agree that eating primarily plant-based foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans) will significantly bolster your immune system and give you much-needed energy. Consuming large amounts of red meat and meats that are high in nitrates (pork and canned meats) can have the opposite effect.
Talk to your oncologist or a nutrition specialist to come up with the right diet for you. Also, visit the Know Cancer Community, blog and our Resource Directory to learn about recipes, foods, vitamins and other healthy suggestions that will help you defeat cancer.
Antioxidants are an important ally in the fight against cancer. By turning toxins in your body into safe chemicals, antioxidants help to fortify your immune system and boost your energy levels. You should incorporate antioxidant-rich foods (berries, citrus, and spinach) into your diet, especially while you are undergoing strenuous cancer treatments. As always, consult your oncologist about all dietary decisions.
explore the mind-body connection
Perhaps the most effective weapon in the fight against cancer is positivity. While “good vibes” are not a substitute for treatment, they will give you the energy and vitality that you need during the most difficult battles. Think of laughter, relaxation, meditation, creativity, and imagination as essential vitamins that will enhance your body’s capacity to heal.
Talk to doctors, holistic specialists, and cancer psychotherapists about different mind-body techniques. And make sure to comb through Know Cancer’s community blogs, forums, groups, and Resource Directory to discover the many new and inspiring ways people just like you are fighting cancer.