Have you been diagnosed with cancer? And, has the balance between your mind, body and emotions become a significant challenge?

A cancer diagnosis often comes with little warning and you can almost instantly expect to go through a range of overwhelming emotions. The initial reaction is often that of shock and disbelief, followed by sadness and anxiety. Fears about the future, apprehension about body damage during treatment … it’s a lot to handle.

Did you know that 115 000 South Africans are diagnosed with cancer each year? In fact, one in two men and one in 3 women are expected to develop cancer (not including skin cancer) over the course of a lifetime. You are not alone.

This group of over 200 different diseases in which abnormal cells multiply uncontrollably not only destroys body tissue or functions, but is often described as a brutal “battle” where you have to fight to survive. The good news is that cancer is not a death sentence; most cancers can be treated if caught early and there is much hope and support for each person along their cancer journey.

Although this particular “fight” is never fair, there are certain steps that you can take to improve your odds and put you one step ahead of your “opponent”.

So, count to 28 million – That’s how many cancer survivors there are worldwide. Believe that you are number 28 million and one. Scientists uncovered many of the intricacies of cancer and developed the technology to pinpoint the exact site of damage, which has tremendous impact on the type of treatments now available. This is not your fault. Remember, this did not happen because of something that you did or did not do.

Learn more about your specific type of cancer to enable you to make better treatment choices. Being informed will give you a greater sense of control.

Embrace the love of family and friends. Don’t try to go it alone. Take a family member or a friend with you on your first few appointments. Join a support group if you need to. Cancer survivors can share their experiences and give insight into what you can expect.

Make lifestyle changes to improve your outcome. Eat healthy, quit smoking and get enough rest. Also, be as active as you can. Focus on the present moment, rather than thinking of an uncertain future. The human spirit is ultimately more powerful than the human body. Remember, right here, right now; you’re doing the best you can.

Find an outlet. What comforted you throughout rough times before your cancer diagnosis is likely to help ease your worries now, whether it’s religion, music, or a favourite activity that recharges you; turn to these comforts now.

Be kind to yourself, you don’t always have to be the brave one. Experts agree that adopting a “positive-at-all-costs” approach can add an unnecessary burden. This is your journey and there is no need to feel you have to please others by the way you cope.

However, remember, you never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.

Source: iconsa.co.za, takingthefearoutofcancer.com, mayoclinic.org, manabouttown.co.za, daredevilrun.com, verywell.com, loveyournuts.com, themarkgorryfoundation.co.uk, cancer.ucsd.edu, cansa.org.za, huffingtonpost.com, psychologytoday.com, livestrong.org, verywellhealth.com, curetoday.com, cancerwa.asn.au, dana-farber.org  


DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.