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A cancer diagnosis can bring a host of emotions and everyone experiences treatment differently.
1. Focus on the gains. It’s easy to dwell on the losses that cancer can bring. We encourage people to also see the gains—such as new perspectives on personal values, goals and priorities and the deepening of personal relationships.
2. Keep moving. During therapy, it can be hard to maintain a steady exercise program. That’s why Baylor Scott & White – Plano offers the Healthy Steps™ program to help patients at every level learn exercises they can do.
3. Eat well. During cancer therapy, it’s important that the cells repair themselves. They need protein and calories. A dietitian can help develop a personalized program. Treatment, though, can wreak havoc on a person’s nutrition. So, we encourage people undergoing treatment to eat whatever is tasting good—even if that’s ice cream.
4. Accept (and ask for) help. Fatigue is a common side effect of treatment. Let people bring dinner. Allow your friends to watch your children for a night. Use adaptive aids for daily activities. We have lots of moms going through breast cancer treatment trying to balance families, jobs and activities for kids. This is a time in their lives when they need to make themselves more of a priority than they’re used to.
5. Find support. Support groups are helpful for many cancer patients. They may experience different emotions than they’ve had to deal with before. Once they know other people have had these emotions, it helps.
6. Deal with stress. Whether it’s deep breathing, guided imagery, yoga or journaling, we encourage patients to find a way to cope with the stress of treatment.
7. Communicate. Communication with friends and family is key. Be open about your diagnosis and treatment. Let them know how you’re feeling, and make sure they know what you need (and don’t need) from them.
Find strength in numbers with one of the oncology support groups at Baylor Scott & White – Plano including our monthly breast cancer, SPOHNC (Support for People with Head and Neck Cancer) and Us Too prostate cancer support groups, plus our quarterly Look Good … Feel Better® program. To register, call 1-800-4BAYLOR or find the class online.
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