Hearing that you or a loved one has cancer is overwhelming and stressful, but there are tips and tools to help you adjust to and deal in the best way possible with this diagnosis. One way to begin is to make sure you and your health care team understand each other and that you are an active team member. Everyone is there to work with you, so you need to clearly say what you need from them. By communicating well with your health care team, you stand to be as successful as possible in this situation. Some tips to keep in mind:
- Speak openly and honestly with your team. They need information from you to make sure your needs are addressed.
- Make sure your doctor listens and understands your needs and concerns. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you don’t think you are being understood. To make sure you’ve been understood, it is often helpful to repeat back to the doctor what you understood him/her to say.
- Ask questions and gather information. Make sure you understand and that you have the best information you can have to make decisions.
- Make a plan with your team for your treatment and care. Getting that plan in writing or electronic form is ideal but not always possible in every situation. Knowing what to expect can help you feel more at ease and able to address issues better as they arise.