Advocating for Yourself

Every journey begins with a single step. No matter where you are in your cancer journey, the step you take now may be your first to become more informed and feel more empowered to adjust to this diagnosis. Ideally, you are dealing with cancer with the support of many friends, loved ones and compassionate caregivers. Too often, people experience cancer in isolation, without financial or emotional support and with few resources to tap into. No matter what your circumstances, always keep in mind that you can always do something – even if that something just gets you through the next hour or the day. And remember, no matter where you are along the path of your survivorship, having good skills to negotiate and communicate your needs are some of your best weapons to use against cancer.

Some would say that, ideally, upon a diagnosis of cancer or other life-threatening illness, a person would be provided a patient advocate. Unfortunately our society is far from using this model. Therefore, NCCS has developed materials, programs and skill-building tools to enable individuals and their supporters to become effective self-advocates. You can think of these as your advocacy tools as you begin your journey of survivorship.

The materials and tools in this publication are based on the experiences of many survivors and are intended to help you “become your own best advocate.” Cancer survivorship as defined by NCCS is an ongoing process – one that begins at diagnosis and continues for the balance of your life.

This publication is designed to assist you at many points in your cancer experience. You can use it upon diagnosis or refer to it many years later. Select the topic areas that relate to your situation and refer to this section at any time and in any order you choose. Share it with a friend, colleague, family member or health professional to broaden the circle of advocates who can be helpful with your diagnosis of cancer.

Becoming a Self-Advocate »

Assuring Quality Cancer Care »

Before and During Diagnosis »

During and After Treatment »

Long-Term and Late Effects »

End of Life »

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