We often hear that knowledge is power, and this is especially true when it comes to illness. Learning as much as you can about cancer and its treatments can ease the fear and the burden. If you understand what’s going on around you, you in fact become the most important member of your own health care team. Armed with information, decisions can be madewith you rather than for you.
How do you learn more about cancer? First, ask questions! While some people are reluctant to use up their doctor’s time, asking questions and addressing your concerns are vital. After all, you’re the one who’s going through the process of diagnosis and treatment, and doctors have a lot of the information you need. Answering your questions is part of your treatment.
If you’re concerned about forgetting what you want to discuss, go to your appointment prepared. Keep a notepad by your bed, on your desk, or wherever is most convenient. Jot down your thoughts and questions as they come to mind. This is also useful if you’ve been admitted to a hospital. While there, you might be able to see your doctor for just a few minutes in the day. So write down your questions and pull them out when it’s time to talk.
Next, do the research. The Cancer Society is a good place to start. They can provide general information and tips on where to find additional information. You can also visit the library and read about people who have gone through the same thing. Don’t forget that you can always ask the librarian for help to hunt down medical journals and other publications.
And then there’s the Internet – where you can find information on almost any topic you can think of. The Internet can be a wonderful source of information and support, but it’s important to keep in mind that, like any other type of media, not all that’s out there is fact. When you find a site that talks about your type of cancer, check to see where this information comes from. Is it a well-known, respected site? Is it run by a university, an institution, or a medical doctor? Are health care professionals reviewing the information? Can the information be backed up? If a site talks about “miracle cures,” it’s wise to remember the old saying: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
All material © 1996-2015 MediResource Inc. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.