How To Give Yourself The Best Chance Of Surviving Cancer

April 20, 2022

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The delivery of a cancer diagnosis is never one that is going to be met with joy, it’s fair to say. There aren’t many ways to sweeten the pill, either, perhaps aside from hearing that it’s a highly-treatable, non-lethal form of cancer. Even then, you’d still rather not have cancer, because - whatever your prognosis - that diagnosis is quite dominant in your everyday life, and will color most of what you do for the foreseeable future.

With that said, such a diagnosis cannot be the point at which your world falls apart. Whether it’s you or someone else who has been diagnosed, there will be tears to shed and fears to share, but attention needs to turn quickly towards the vital question: what do we do now? What will give us the best chance of turning this cloudy future into a sunny present where the diagnosis is nothing but a bad memory?

Don’t let the doctors sugar-coat it

There are very few situations post-diagnosis where more urgency will be a bad thing. It’s not uncommon to hear statistics bandied about when a cancer diagnosis is handed down. Be cautious of the selective use of statistics. If a doctor tells you that a certain percentage of patients survive this cancer, ask them what “survive” means. If you hear “we’ll do everything we can to ensure you beat this”, get details on what “everything” means. If there was ever a time to be brusque and pushy, it’s in the immediate aftermath of a cancer diagnosis. You can apologize later, but initially, it is essential to know what your realistic outlook is and how you can turn the numbers in your favor.

Be open to all options

There is, to be blunt, no cure for cancer. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t survivable, but there is no one thing you can do which will ensure the cancer goes away. And the picture can differ between patients; chemotherapy can work for one person, while another with a similar diagnosis may respond better to radiotherapy. So when a doctor says “there is another option… but it is highly experimental.”, you do want to know about that option. If it’s a course of THC O which can shrink tumors and keep nausea at bay, great - let’s explore it. If it’s a surgical option which has turned terminal patients into survivors, let’s hear more.

Realistic doesn’t mean pessimistic

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When you have a diagnosis as severe as cancer, it would take inhuman strength not to consider the fact that cancer is strongly associated with death. That means it is only realistic to think about the fact that your health could end up going in a direction you don’t want.  This does not mean that you need to think about the future in terms of you not having a place in it.  It does mean that you need to be clinical in terms of your thinking about the condition.  When deciding between treatments, you’re going to hear a lot about side effects. They can be traumatic, make you miserable, and be hard for your loved ones to see. But if the side effect of not having the treatment is that you die, then the side effects are worth it.

Learn all you can about your cancer

People often talk about dealing with cancer in terms of a “battle”, which tends to irritate people with the condition. People who die from cancer didn’t lose to an opponent who wanted it more. People who survive didn’t simply have more fight. If there is any merit in the idea that cancer is a battle, then it is worth remembering that cancer has a chance of winning because it cheats - it uses your body and your system against you. 

So in return, you should make sure you have every advantage in your corner and know all about the kind of cancer you are facing. What has worked for other patients? How do you deal with medication side effects? What are the experimental treatments? Become an expert, and don’t be afraid to use every trick going - you’re not going up against a respectful opponent.

A cancer diagnosis can be among the most traumatic experiences in your life, and yet when it happens it becomes all the more vital that you are composed and clear-headed. So once the initial shock is out of the way, it’s time to use every resource you have available to you and give yourself - or your loved one - the best possible chance of survival.

*contributed post*

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