The early days are the scariest. Knowledge is power in a cancer fight, and the sudden knowledge of your diagnosis will empower you to fight it. We’ve interviewed other young adult cancer fighters and survivors and asked what advice they have for those who are newly diagnosed. Their answers are compiled below. We also invite you to download our Questions for Your Oncologist form to bring with you to your early appointments.
1. You are not a statistic.
No two patients are identical and no two cancers are identical. In fact, there are over 100 different diseases that we refer to as “cancer,” and a near infinite number of subtypes from each of those. Try not to dwell on discouraging statistics. Your cancer fight is unique.
2. Take control.
So much about a cancer diagnosis is out of your control, but many aspects are within your control. It is surprisingly empowering and peaceful to take control of your cancer fight. Get organized. Choose your team of doctors and adjust that team when you feel necessary or as your needs change. Get second opinions and make educated decisions about your health and treatment. Adjust your diet and exercise routines. Before your first infusion, radiation, or surgery, you can fight back with a can-do attitude.
3. There is no right or wrong way to fight cancer.
Some fighters are an open book. They keep a blog and share every detail regarding their cancer fight. Others decide not to share their diagnosis outside of their immediate family. They keep their cards close and thrive on the "business as usual" aspect of that decision. Many fall in between those two extremes. Any way you choose to communicate regarding your cancer diagnosis is fine. Do not feel pressured to share more or less. It is up to you. That being said, a word of caution in your early days. You can always decide to share more, but once the information is out there, it's impossible to take it back. Your coworkers or 1,000 facebook friends can’t “un-know” what you’ve already told them. Especially if you have children, think carefully about what information you share openly, as that will often be overheard by young ones.