Three little words no one wants to hear: “You have cancer.”
According to Mayo Clinic, nearly half of all men and a third of women in the United States will receive a cancer diagnosis during their life.
The number of Americans who will be diagnosed with a primary brain or spinal cord tumor is far less – an estimated 24,530 adults will be diagnosed this year. But the shock is the same.
Whether you or a loved one recently received the news about a cancer diagnosis, regardless of type, here are four things to consider to help you cope and make informed decisions.
- Ask for help. First and foremost, ask a friend or family member, or someone from your care team to help you navigate this diagnosis. As you process the news and your emotions, it will be difficult to retain any information about the cancer itself or treatment options. However, it is vital to be proactive and move quickly, so someone who can help gather all necessary information and remind you of upcoming decisions will be instrumental.
- Learn about the diagnosis. Once you’ve reached out for support, research the type of cancer you have. Find out its name, size, exact location, where it likely started and if it can spread. You’ll also want to know whether it’s slow-growing or aggressive. Arming yourself with information about the cancer will help you and your loved ones understand it and more easily make treatment decisions.
- Ask your care team about all possible treatment options. It’s important to know your options – all of them. There are standard treatments for certain types of cancer; there are also new, breakthrough treatments for many types of cancer, including GT Medical Technologies’ GammaTile Therapy, a Surgically Targeted Radiation Therapy (STaRT) for brain tumors. You might also consider clinical trials, which are conducted to evaluate a new medical, surgical, or behavioral intervention.To find out more about current clinical trials, visit Emerging Med Clinical Trial Navigation Service to find a trial that might work for you. Your doctor can help you determine if this is the right course of action.
- Never lose hope. GammaTile Therapy recipient Shannan A. was diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent several treatments including multiple tumor resections, oral chemotherapy, and external beam radiation. After several years of emotional distress, recurring diagnoses, and harsh side effects, she found hope after receiving GammaTile Therapy and becoming a GammaTile Patient Navigator. As a navigator, Shannan connects with other patients going through their treatment journey to provide additional support. This program gives her more purpose, something that is important to keep moving forward.
According to WebMD, more than 50% of people diagnosed with cancer today can expect to live five or more years. As more emphasis is placed on developing advanced treatment options for cancer, we inch closer and closer to a cure.