If you have seen your GP and are going for tests, or you have received a diagnosis of Cancer, you will have many questions that you want to ask. Make a list and ask them and keep asking them until you are satisfied with the answers.
- Why am I having this treatment?
- Are there alternatives?
- What are the possible side effects of the treatment?
- How long will the treatment last?
- What support will I need after treatment?
- What changes can I make in my diet & lifestyle?
- What support will I need in the future?
Remember, many doctors will assume that you are uninformed about your condition or that you don’t actually want to know the details of your treatment. If you don’t feel strong enough to ask the questions yourself, take an advocate with you, a friend or family member, to ask the questions on your behalf. Many older Spanish people are quite content to give themselves over to the doctor without being involved in discussions about their condition, thinking that the ‘doctor knows best’. In the UK particularly, over the last 5–10 years, people have been encouraged to ask questions and be involved in decisions about their health, to ask what their options are and to make informed choices about their treatment. Do not be put off asking questions if you are not satisfied with the answers you are getting.
Don’t forget that organisations such as MABS are there at the end of the phone to help you and your family through this worrying time. Many people recover physically in a very short period but often the worries linger; money worries, worries about recurrence of the illness etc. One UK Consultant has said that on average it takes his patients 18 months to stop worrying about their condition after their treatment. Fears and anxieties are NORMAL. MABS can offer support and advice and it is often good to talk to someone impartial and outside of your family. MABS is FREE; CONFIDENTIAL and IMPARTIAL.
After treatment there are many things which can help improve your feeling of wellbeing, swimming, walking, massage, physiotherapy, gentle exercise, yoga, meditation etc and making changes in your life style such as giving up smoking and cutting down on alcohol. Eating more fruit and veg will help build your body’s immune system and make you feel better. You can discuss these with your GP who will be happy to give you any advice. If you are undergoing chemotherapy you must always ensure that you take no supplements or any tablets not prescribed by your consultant as some things can interfere with the action of the chemotherapy drugs. Always ask if you are unsure.
There is not doubt that Cancer is a terrible disease and this article does not seek to treat it lightly, but remember that many, many people are now surviving many years post diagnosis. Many of these have taken their diagnosis as a warning to change their lifestyles and to really start enjoying their lives, instead of taking things for granted. The causes in many instances of Cancer are not fully known but many experts sing the praises of the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit and veg, with fish and olive oil. You could not be living in a better place to start eating a diet which is both nutritious, economical and proven to have a preventive effect for conditions such as Cancer and heart disease. Just get down to your local market and fill your basket with plenty of local produce.
Some places to start if you need further information:
To Contact MABS 620422410