February 4 is World Cancer Day
Being diagnosed with cancer can be traumatic but what you have to realise is that it’s not the end of the world. Cancer like all other diseases is very treatable. The theme of World Cancer Day this year is dispelling the myths and misconceptions about cancer and the biggest one is that cancer is a death sentence. Dr Ashwin Mallya tells what to do when you’re diagnosed with cancer.
Relax: That is the first step. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that it’s not the end of the road. With early diagnosis, treatment and regular follow-ups many patients end up living a near normal life. Just take a look at Yuvi; he is back in the Indian cricket team!
Confide: You don’t have to do it alone. Tell your near and dear ones about your ailment, especially your partner or whoever you’re close. Their strength and support will help you get through this.
Trust your doctor: A lot of people tend to lose faith in their treatment options and opt for other methods. Your doctor will give you the maximum insight into your disease and the treatment options available. However, if you’re in doubt you can always go for a second opinion.
Be regular: Many people tend to stop their treatment regimens after a while. You should be very particular about your check-ups, follow-ups and investigations to get the maximum benefits. Also avoid self-diagnosing and self-medication and don’t start taking medicinal advice from everyone.
Stay positive: Good nutrition (follow your doctor’s recommendations), exercise (within tolerable limits) and a positive frame of mind will make you stronger, in order to tolerate the medications which at times may be of strong nature.
Don’t get fooled by soothsayers: If you are considering indigenous systems of medicine or alternative therapies do mention this to your treating oncologist. Don’t be fooled by soothsayers and astrologers regarding ‘guarantees’ about their treatment.
Don’t stop living: Many people tend to go into a shell once they discover they’ve cancer. Do not cut yourself from your social circle. Genuine friends will always be there for you. Suffering from cancer does not make you a social outcast.
Meditate: It’s vital to maintain peace of mind. You need to do things that will keep you from being stressed out. Why not try some meditation and other relaxation techniques?
Join support groups: Most Oncology set ups have support groups or at least a network of patients and their families who have suffered the disease, gone through treatment and in most cases survived the ordeal. Small tips and anecdotes can lighten the burden that you may be feeling.
And finally, Believe: Know that you will beat the disease. Read up as many survival stories and books with information about coping with the disease. You will be surprised to find how many, many people have beaten the disease.
Always remember cancer is not a death sentence. There are lots of people who have been diagnosed with cancer that have gotten over this ailment and lived a normal enriching life.
Also read: War on Cancer
First Published: Feb 4, 2013 at 9:20 AM