GREENSBORO, N.C. — For those faced with a cancer diagnosis such as colorectal cancer finding support can be difficult.
The diagnosis itself could cause emotional and physical stress. However, there are tools available to help you in the fight.
Here are 10 things you need to know if you or a loved one is diagnosed with colorectal cancer from the Colorectal Cancer Alliance.
The group recommends these 10 helpful tips.
1. Learn all you can about your diagnosis
- Ask questions and get all the facts at your disposal about your diagnosis. Also, make sure to write down a few questions before you attend your doctor’s office visit.
- Experts recommend bringing someone with you to take notes during office visits or record office visits to listen to them later on.
2. The right medical team is key
- Your treatment might need specialized experts. The Colorectal Cancer Alliance said a surgeon, oncologist, pain specialist, social worker, and others may work together on your cancer care team.
- If you need surgery, always seek an opinion from a board-certified colorectal surgeon.
- Let your care team know how you feel
3. Improve treatment options with testing
- Ask your doctor for biomarker testing which can help you and your doctor choose the best treatment option for you. Biomarkers in colorectal cancer are utilized for diagnosis, progression, and treatment.
4. Ask for a second opinion
- The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be to make informed decisions about your treatment.
5. It’s always a good choice to get support as a caregiver or for your caregiver
- The amount of information a caregiver receives can be overwhelming and make for a stressful environment. Helpful ways to reduce that stress include journaling, meditating, watching movies, engaging in creative hobbies, or talking to a trustworthy friend.
6. Always ask for help
- Accept help when you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for specific help you want and need when faced with a cancer diagnosis or if you have a loved one with one.
- Give your friends and family a chance to feel good by accepting their help.
7. Don’t be afraid to reach out for support
- Peers, family, and friends can help you feel supported and give you tips on how to overcome challenges.
8. Find your community
- Find the answers and support you need in groups of survivors, caregivers, friends, and family members in groups like private group Blue Hope Nation and online communities where you can connect with other patients.
9. Find ways to manage your stress
- You can manage stress by meditating, listening to music, talking with friends, or taking a walk.
- Make sure to find something you like to do and set reasonable goals to help you make exercise a part of everyday living.
- Also, don’t let the cancer-related thoughts get to you.
10. Utilize all the insurance and financial resources you can
- Learn about your insurance plan and its benefits.
- File medical bills and find out how your employer will handle your time away.
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