How to Handle a Cancer Diagnosis
You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer and your world’s turned upside down. You’re scared and overwhelmed. Suddenly your new identity is … cancer patient.
You’ve just been diagnosed with cancer and your world’s been turned upside down. You’re scared and overwhelmed. Suddenly your new identity is cancer patient.
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But that’s not entirely true. You’re still you.
“It’s important to not let cancer define you,” says oncologist Mikkael Sekeres, MD. “You’re not the disease. When you’re first given a cancer diagnosis, it’s completely normal to have the cancer be the focus of all of your thoughts, and those of your family and friends. But while it’s easy to define yourself as a cancer patient, remember who you are and what your goals are. You’re still the same person you always have been.”
To help you retain your sense of self, it’s important to keep doing the same things you’d normally do.
For example, if you exercise, continue to do so. If you’re the type of person who works out on a treadmill or walks every single day, keep doing it or you’re going to go nuts, says Dr. Sekeres. But, it’s a good idea to check with your doctor first to make sure exercise is OK within the context of your cancer treatment.
The same thing holds true if you’re used to going out to dinner with friends or your spouse, keep doing that, again checking with your doctor first.
Dr. Sekeres shares more tips to help with the transition and give you a sense of control after a cancer diagnosis:
And do your best to try to be the person you’ve always been. You’re much, much more than an illness.