Patients with newly diagnosed cancer often feel that they have been uprooted from home and tossed into a foreign land — with strange landmarks, foreign language and more than enough fear and anxiety for a lifetime. It’s very useful to have guidance from a cancer survivor who has been there. A new article by a cancer survivor and professional advisor does just that.
The article by Kathryn Gurland, “A Survivor’s Compass,” has eleven helpful tips for negotiating this new foreign territory. She starts with the helpful reminder that a cancer diagnosis is not a medical emergency, and you don’t need to rush into treatment before you thoroughly educate yourself on all your options.
Other advice includes:
* Make sure you are memorable to the care providers, and not just “another cancer patient.” Small things like wearing distinctive clothing, showing your sense of humor, talking about current events — all can help make you stand out from the crowd, and thus form a better bond with the providers.
* Never be shy about asking for the help you need, and also making clear what you DON’T need.
Read more here.
Ms. Gurland’s advice echoes that in Patrick Malone’s book, “The Life You Save,” which helps patients understand the vital need to get second and third opinions before they undertake cancer treatment. The heart of good care, as Mr. Malone teaches, is clear communication and complete understanding by the patient and the family of everything that is going on.