Preparing for cancer treatment
After being diagnosed, you and your physician should discuss in detail the various options available to you in terms of treatment so that you can make the most informed treatment decisions and decide on the most effective course of treatment for your particular cancer.
Starting cancer treatment requires physical as well as mental preparation. In order to ensure that you are ready, here are some tips to help you prepare:
- If you are a smoker, it is crucial to quit smoking before you begin treatment. Continuing to smoke will affect how well your body responds to the treatment, and increases your chances of suffering complications.
- If you are having trouble quitting smoking, our doctors will refer you to the Smoking Cessation Clinic at KHCC.
Ask your doctors about side-effects
- You won’t know how your body will respond to the treatment until you start it, but it helps to ask your doctor which side effects you will most likely experience, and how to manage them effectively
Taking time off work
- You might feel the need to take a few weeks or months off from work, especially if treatment makes you feel very tired or if you experience strong side effects.
- Talk to your manager about taking time off and delegating your responsibilities
Make adjustments to your everyday routines
- Treatment may leave you feeling weak and tired, so you will be unable to do everything you are used to doing.
- For example, if you are responsible for most of the household chores, you will need to redistribute these chores amongst your family members or perhaps hire a domestic helper.
- If you feel too weak to drive, ask your family and friends for help and plan transportation arrangements in advance
Changing your diet
- Changes will probably have to be made to your diet, as some foods are considered unsafe for cancer patients undergoing treatment due to lower immunity.
- Ask your physician or nutritionist which foods are best to eat before and during treatment.
- Stock up, cook, and freeze food in advance so that you have something healthy to eat when you need it and don’t have to expend extra energy shopping and cooking.
- Being prepared with food will make it easier for you to stay on track and give your body the right nourishment it needs during treatment.
Help your family prepare
- Discuss with your family, in the presence of a therapist if necessary, the possible changes that will occur in your life once you begin treatment.
- If you are a parent, you may feel the urge to protect your children by letting them know as little as possible about your cancer, however this approach may backfire.
- If you have young children, it is best for them if they are gently told beforehand what changes might occur in their life and daily routine as a result of your cancer and treatment.
- If you have older children and teenagers, they may start to feel resentful if they sense that information is being withheld from them. A frank discussion with them is recommended so that they don’t feel that they are being lied to or neglected.
Sort out any legal or financial issues
- Before starting treatment, ensure that your legal and financial documentation is up-to-date. This will help with any insurance issues that may arise when covering your medical costs.