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Information about all aspects of finances affected by a serious health condition. Includes income sources such as work, investments, and private and government disability programs, and expenses such as medical bills, and how to deal with financial problems.
Information about all aspects of health care from choosing a doctor and treatment, staying safe in a hospital, to end of life care. Includes how to obtain, choose and maximize health insurance policies.
Answers to your practical questions such as how to travel safely despite your health condition, how to avoid getting infected by a pet, and what to say or not say to an insurance company.



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Preparing ahead of time can maximize chances for treatment success and minimize side effects.

Eat well

People who eat well are better able to cope with side effects of treatment. You may even be able to handle higher doses of certain drugs.


  • Keep your comfort foods for once in a while (say once every few days or once a week). The goal is to eliminate unhealthy foods or to keep them to a bare minimum.
  • If you have a question about what eating well means, one credible source of information is the United States Department of Agriculture's web offsite link
  • Ask your cancer doctor if there are foods you should start eating or avoiding that would make your treatment more effective or easier.

Get exercise

  • Exercise helps your body's healing function operate at its best.
  • Exercise does not have to be in a gym.
  • Even brisk walking is helpful. 
  • For information about exercise, click here.

Minimize risk of complications in your mouth (oral complications).

  • Speak with your cancer doctor about possible oral complications from your treatment.
  • Get a dental check-up and evaluation. 
    • Get an examination of your mouth, teeth and jawbone to check for potential problems that may arise during treatment.
    • If you have issues that could become a problem during treatment, take care of them now. Find out from your dentist how much time is needed for your mouth to heal properly. It is preferable for healing to be complete before treatment begins.
    • Mention to your dentist the risks for oral complications your cancer doctor told you about.
  • Your doctor may recommend that you speak with a dental oncologist - a dentist who is trained in dental and oral care for people with cancer. If so, you can locate a dental oncologist through any of the following:
    • Your cancer doctor.
    • National Cancer Institute offsite link or Tel.: 800.422.6237.
    • National Comprehensive Cancer Network, offsite link, or Tel.: 215.690.0300.
  • Practice good oral hygiene. It will reduce your chances of getting tooth decay, infections and mouth sores. Experts recommend that you brush your teeth after every meal and at bedtime. Use a soft toothbrush and toothpaste with flouride in it.  Floss once a day.

If you smoke, stop.

Smoking may interfere with the effectiveness of cancer therapy. Cancer patients who smoke have a lower survival rate than nonsmokers. By quitting at the time of diagnosis, a patient can improve the body’s response to treatments, lessen complications and side effects, decrease the risk of recurrence and enhance survival

Once you stop smoking because of cancer therapy, consider stopping for good.

Stop other negative behavior.

  • There may be drugs you have to stop taking. Do not stop taking any drug without first speaking with the doctor who prescribed it.
  • If you drink alcohol, minimize the amount. For instance, women should drink no more than one drink of alcohol per day.  Men no more than two. 

Get appropriate rest.

If you have trouble sleeping, there are sleep aides available. Speak with your doctor.

Get organized

Start figuring out how to minimize the impact of treatment on your daily life. For instance:

  • Get your finances organized, especially health insurance related information. This way you won't have to waste time looking for things when you may not be feeling well.
  • Assign tasks to people that you won't be able to do.

Consider your emotions.

  • Start thinking positively.
  • Learn how to cope with anxiety or depression.
  • Knowledge can help take the stress out of the wait.

For information about the above subjects, see the documents listed in "To Learn More." Also see Survivorship A to Z documents about your type of treatment.