A cancer diagnosis can be jarring. If you or a loved one have recently been diagnosed with oral cancer, DON’T feel like you shouldn’t be affected by this news, but DO try to find out as much as you can about your type of cancer. The more you know, the more the stunned feelings will dissolve. You will also have a better understanding of what is going on to make better decisions with your health care team.
So, if you have been diagnosed here’s an idea of what you can do next.
Anytime you get diagnosed with a major health problem, you have the option to get a second opinion. Second opinions allow a different doctor to review the diagnosis and treatment options. Taking a proactive approach to your diagnosis can help you feel more empowered.
You will most likely undergo a series of tests to help the doctor determine all the details of your cancer. The details will help a doctor “stage” your cancer. There are four stages of cancer. Stage one is less aggressive and stage four is the most aggressive. X-rays, CT scans and MRIs are all options for doctors to help find out if your oral cancer has spread.
When discussing your treatment options questions are by far the most reliable means to gather information. Below is a list of five important questions you should ask your doctor about your treatment plan:
1) What treatments do you think are best for me and why?
2) What is the success rate of this particular treatment for my type and stage of oral cancer?
3) During treatment, will I be able to go to work and be around my family?
4) What side effects can I expect to encounter?
5) Are there any clinical trials I should look into?
Discuss these questions with your doctor and your family to decide what the best option for you is. Remember, there are many support groups dedicated to cancer victims and their families. Get involved and learn to cope with you diagnosis the best you possibly can.