Before and During Diagnosis

Before Diagnosis

What follows are some steps to reduce your misunderstanding and to increase the opportunity to get the best care, if and when you learn that you or someone you care about is diagnosed with cancer.

Study and understand your health insurance coverage
Headlines are meant to sell newspapers and magazines and can be misleading
Engage in practices that reduce your risk of exposure to known cancer causing agents
History is not destiny
Know and trust your body and your instincts

During Diagnosis

The field of health care that deals with cancer is called oncology. The people treating cancer are chiefly medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, oncology nurses and oncology social workers. Cancer is many diseases with one thing in common: the uncontrollable growth and accumulation of abnormal cells. Cancer growth and development has so many phases that physicians use terms that specify where the cancer is (site) and the type of tissue involved. Because there are so many different types of cancer, it is vitally important that you understand your diagnosis and prognosis – a prediction of the probable cause and outcome of the disease – so that you can make informed treatment decisions.

Become educated about your type of disease and the treatments available
Be sure that you understand the stage and grade of your cancer
Use credible and reputable sources of information
Write out your questions in advance of your visit to an oncology professional
Investigate living wills and advanced directives
Take some time to do the necessary research