It is absolutely imperative that you thoroughly understand the particular treatment recommended for you. Make very sure you know both the benefits and the side-effects.
The initial anxiety surrounding the immediate effects of treatment can often distract us from properly listening to and understanding the long-term effects of the treatment being explained to us. Two examples, used by The Cancer Lifeline Programme, are:
- One woman was thinking about what the chemotherapy would do to her nails, hair and energy levels. “Will I still be able to work? Will I be able to properly care for my children?” And amidst this hurricane of worries, she may miss the fact that chemotherapy could potentially cause sterility.
- Another woman was worried about the Tamoxifen causing possible weight-gain – and didn’t take in the fact that Tamoxifen also carries a 5 – 10% risk of triggering endometrial cancer.
Though knowing each and every postive AND negative of one’s recommended treatment is daunting (understatement?), it is still infinitely more positive and empowering in the long run. Knowing the flip-side of the coin gives you time to mentally, practically and physically prepare for a worst case scenario — instead of it catching you off-guard and unprepared!
TREATMENT TIP #1: schedule two separate chats with your doctor:
- one about the short-term effects, and describing – step by step – what it will be like for you to progress through the treatment
- the other about the possible long-term side-effects of treatment
TREATMENT TIP #2: Google with caution!