[MOL] Dealing with your diagnosis, page 2..... [01463] Medicine On Line

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[MOL] Dealing with your diagnosis, page 2.....

Dealing with Your Diagnosis...(page 2)
You need to be thinking about how those closest to you are going to react and with whom you are going to discuss your illness and treatments. Those of you who feel better knowing more about your illness should get more information concerning the size, extent, cell type and prognosis, as well as the outcome of various treatments. Please remember that while the Internet is accessible and informative, it can also be confusing and overwhelming. It is important to consult your doctor. Remember, you have coped with difficult life situations before. This is no different.

You have been caught off-guard and you need time to recover, to find out what the problem is and to begin learning how to fix it. I believe this is best done in partnership with your doctor. A trusting relationship with him or her is the key to making the shift back into life after the treatments have begun. Your doctor needs to know you well so he or she can help you cope.

Ask for recommendations for support groups. Hopefully, most of you can begin your treatments with a positive attitude, expecting that your asymptomatic disease will be brought under control quickly and that you can look forward to resuming your life. Many cancer survivors speak about enjoying life more fully than ever before.

Your doctor and his or her staff will support you through any of the side effects of the chemotherapy. If you are overly anxious or depressed, make sure to ask for a referral to a mental health professional with experience in helping cancer patients.

Dr. Straker is a consultant at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and an associate clinical professor of psychiatry at the Cornell University College of Medicine in New York.
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