- Summary: What You Need To Know
- Get Your Legal Affairs In Order.
- What Is A Cancer Recurrence?
- Recurrence Or Progression: What Is The Difference?
- What Are The Different Types Of Cancer Recurrence?
- Emotions That Surface With A Recurrence And How To Cope With Them
- A Wake Up Call To Life And To Meaning
- How To Find Clinical Trials/Medical Tourism Outside The U.S.
- What Are The Chances The Treatment Will Work?
- What If I Don't Want To Go Through Treatment Again?
- If You Work, Consider Whether This Is A Time To Stop Work And Receive A Disability Income.
- Spouses and Partners
- Family and Friends
- WHEN YOU START TREATMENT, READ SURVIVORSHIP A TO Z "IN TREATMENT" AS A REMINDER OF WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TO HELP YOU THROUGH TREATMENT
Summary: What You Need To KnowNext »
Recurrence is when your cancer returns. It is not a new cancer.
Learning that your cancer has returned can be devastating. It can even feel worse than the first diagnosis. However, the fact of a recurrence by itself is not a cause for undue alarm. Rather than focus on the fact that cancer came back, it is better to think about what to do about the situation.
To help cope with the emotions that are bound to appear, use whatever mechanisms and relationships you used the first time around. You survived cancer at least once. You also have the advantage of everything you learned since then. It may help if you think of cancer as a chronic condition which sometimes has acute phases.
Look for humor. It helps.
A recurrence presents challenges for your medical team. However, even if the range of treatments is the same as during your first encounter with cancer, the specifics may be different. Treatment decisions are based on the type of disease, timing of recurrence, location of the recurrence, extent of spread, your overall health, and your personal wishes. For example, if you received chemotherapy, your cancer doctor may recommend a different chemotherapy. If you received radiation, you cannot generally receive additional radiation in the same area. You can receive it in a different area.
There may be newly approved treatments, or promising treatments that are being scientifically investigated in clinical trials You can access such treatments through a process known as a clinical trial.
Before deciding on a treatment, ask your cancer doctor about the pros and cons of each potential treatment, his or her suggestion, the reasoning behind the suggestion, and how long you have to make a decision. It is not likely that a decision must be made right away. With a time frame in mind, get a second opinion from a reputable source such as a doctor at an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center both as to your diagnosis and your treatment. You can find an NCI center by clicking here .
There are services you can hire that will research treatments, vet the pros and cons, and make a recommendation.
If there are no treatments in the U.S. that can reasonably be said to work for you, it may be worth exploring what is happening in other countries. If you use this option, (known as "medical tourism") be cautious. There are signs to look for to help spot phone treatments. Also see: What Happens If Cancer Treatment Is No Longer Working?
Keep in mind that at least one person survives every illness. There is no reason that person isn't you.
Use the practical experience you have gained to help avoid unwanted side effects and to deal with those you can't avoid. Keep in mind that with time, treatments get smarter with fewer side effects. Plus, the ability to control side effects gets better.
If paying for cancer treatment is an issue, or if finances of any type are an issue, Survivorship A to Z provides information on what to do when you are uninsured or have what we refer to as a financial crunch.
If your recurrence throws you off balance financially, when things settle, take a few moments to do financial planning that takes account of your health condition. A bit of planning will help maximize your resources. We even have tips on dealing with creditors if that is problem. (If financial planning is difficult for you, ask a trusted family member or friend to do it for you.)
This is not a time to beat yourself up if you haven't been living a cancer preventive lifestyle, or if you have, thinking that you could have done more. As the American Cancer Society says: "Although eating right, exercising, and seeing your doctor for follow-up visits are important, please understand that there probably was nothing you could do to keep your cancer from coming backâ€¦ Even if you do everything just right, you can't change the possibility that cancer will come back. "
Look around you. Is your home environment peaceful and conducive to healing and healthy life? If not, do what you can to change it. For instance, repaint walls to restful colors.
If you haven't before, now is the time to get your legal affairs in order. If you have, check what you did to be sure it still reflects your wishes.
To Learn More
More InformationWhat Happens If Cancer Treatment Is No Longer Working? Advance Directives 101 Wills 101 Planning Ahead How To Spot A Phony Treatment Medical Tourism (Travel For Medical Care) Medical Research 101 Medical Research Services Financial Crunch: How To Deal With A Uninsured Chemotherapy: Questions To Ask Before Agreeing To Questions To Ask Before Agreeing To Undergo A Treatment
Related ArticlesHow To Negotiate With Creditors Financial Planning Videos: Maximizing Time With Your Doctor Doctors: How To Work Effectively With