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If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, you may be uneasy about what the future holds. Depending on the type and stage of cancer, you may have experienced a variety of symptoms, such as urination problems with prostate cancer, bleeding or a change in bowel movements with colorectal cancer, pelvic pain or fullness with ovarian cancer, or coughing and shortness of breath with lung cancer. Or, you may have found a mass in a certain area, such as your breast or your skin. The good news is, the chances of curing cancer are much greater if the symptoms are caught early and the diagnosis is made at an early stage—and promising new forms of treatment are being developed every day.
When it comes to cancer treatments, there are a large number of potential options. Typically, an oncologist (a doctor who specializes in treating cancer) will determine the course of your treatment. This may include:
Sometimes only one of these treatments is necessary. But more often than not, a combination of approaches is likely to produce better results. Since many cancer treatments affect normal cells as well as cancerous cells, side effects—such as nausea, fatigue, pain, hair loss, and memory loss—are common. In some cases, medications can be given to minimize these side effects.
By following your doctor’s treatment regimen, you can manage your symptoms, prevent complications, and enhance the quality of your life and health. Because your immune system may be compromised during your treatment, it’s important to avoid contact with people who have contagious illnesses. Depending on how your body responds to different drugs, you may not feel like eating much or you may get unusually tired; ask family members and friends to take turns cooking foods that you’re more likely to eat or to take over certain responsibilities so you can get more rest. It’s important to give yourself the care you need while you’re being treated for cancer.
To learn more about how the Visiting Nurse Service of New York can help you manage cancer, click here.