What Should You Do After Being Diagnosed with Cancer?

What Should You Do After Being Diagnosed with Cancer

A positive cancer diagnosis can stir a storm of mixed emotions in anyone: shock, anger, denial, grief, and depression. Several questions pop up in one’s mind. Is it curable? How much time do I have? How will I pay for the expensive treatment? Regardless of how difficult it may be to digest the truth, the sooner you accept your reality, the faster you will be able to build a coping mechanism and begin treatment. That said, listed below are a few things you should consider as soon as you get diagnosed.

Plan your finances

Cancer is an expensive disease to treat. From regular checkups to medicines, the cost of the bills can burn a hole through your pocket. Some people do not even have an insurance policy, or even if they do, it might not provide enough coverage.  Furthermore, the disease also affects the patient’s employment, which can hurt their income. In this situation, financial stress can worsen the condition of the patient.

However, effective planning can help you manage expensive treatment plans. Talk to your insurance company to familiarize yourself with how much coverage you have. Many hospitals and treatment centers also work with charitable organizations and social workers that help patients manage the costs of medicines.

However, if your cancer developed because of your employer’s ineptness, you may be liable to receiving compensation. For instance, construction workers and military personnel exposed to asbestos are at risk of developing a rare form of lung cancer and can file an injury claim. It would be ideal for such patients to approach lawyers specializing in mesothelioma lawsuits to extract funds from their employer to get treated. Hence, keep an open mind and weigh all your possible options before worrying too much.

Learn about your disease

It is needless to say that your doctor will be your primary source of information. Still, understanding your disease will help you comprehend how your life will change in the coming weeks, months, and years. Therefore, educate yourself by reading as much as you can. Learn about the causes, effects, and available treatments of the disease. You can run a quick Google search to familiarize yourself with some basics.

However, not all the information out there on the internet might be accurate. Therefore, only go for credible sources. If any questions pop up in your mind while reading, write them down and ask your medical team on your next visit. Being well-informed of your disease will enable you to manage symptoms and plan your treatment better. 

Keep a journal and stay organized

As the disease progresses, it can take a toll on your ability to manage tasks and retain information. Hence, it is necessary to maintain a journal to keep track of everything you need to do. Write down your oncologist’s number, appointment dates, medication times, case history, and keep notes of your treatment is going. Note down changes in signs and symptoms. Also, use the journal to maintain your diet plan and exercise schedule. Eating healthy food and staying physically active will help you ease some of your symptoms and recover faster.

Start planning for the future

Cancer is an unpredictable disease. It can suddenly alter from getting better to worsening in merely a matter of weeks. Thus, it is wise to begin planning things for the future. A booklet issued by the National Cancer Institute of the US Department of Health thoroughly explains what you need to plan and has directives to writing a Living Will.

Give any family member or friend you trust the Power of Attorney to decide crucial matters regarding your health and assets on your behalf. If you are unable to gather all your essential documents, inform your family about these documents. If you have different accounts, list them down along with their access information and give them to your trusted person in case of an emergency. You should also use this time to start having meaningful conversations with your loved ones on coping with your absence.

Take care of your emotional health

Cancer is not a disease that is fought with medicines, but it requires emotional strength. Amidst so much going on, it is crucial to take care of your mental and emotional health. Share your feelings, fears, and concerns with your family or caregivers. It’s normal for patients with chronic illness to become cynical, but do not let this emotion overwhelm you.

If needed, you can ask for the professional support of any psychologist or psychiatrist to help you through this process. Specific organizations provide free counseling to cancer patients. Or you can also join a support group. By connecting with people going through similar situations, you can relieve some of your emotional burdens and find solace. In this way, you do not feel isolated and can get valuable information as well.


Being diagnosed with cancer can be bewildering and frightening. However, it is essential to take necessary measures to manage your treatment and build a coping mechanism. This article outlines some tips that can help you streamline your activities post a positive diagnosis. Learning about your disease and possible treatments would help you better understand your condition. Furthermore, planning your finances will spare you from being crushed under debt. Maintain a journal to keep track of important dates, meal plans, medication, etc. Start long-term planning to prepare for the inevitable, including writing your Will and handing out your PoA to someone you trust. Last but not least, take care of your mental health along with your physical well-being. 

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