Cancer Resources


You’ve already been through one difficult experience: the cancer diagnosis. You know what a gut-wrenching, life-changing situation it was. But now you may be wondering what’s next – what can you expect from the doctor’s appointments, treatment procedures, side effects and more? If you’re worried about any of these items, Hunt Regional Healthcare is here to set you at ease.

Patient Information

What to Expct After a Cancer Diagnosis

This is a common question many cancer patients ask. However, the American Cancer Society tells us that the prognosis for a large number of cancer patients is good and many types of cancer can be treated. Specifically, there are more than 14 million people living in the U.S. today who were once diagnosed with cancer. So the answer is no, a cancer diagnosis does not always mean you are going to die. But you should talk to your oncologist for a more precise prognosis.

This is often one of the first thoughts a cancer patient has after a cancer diagnosis. Going through cancer treatments is a huge challenge – but will it work? As mentioned above, millions of Americans have been through cancer treatments and have lived to tell about it. But the answer to this question depends on your specific type of cancer, its stage and your doctor’s treatment plan.

This is a worry that crosses the minds of many people who have been diagnosed with cancer. Cancer affects entire families, not just the person diagnosed. Despite this, you may feel alone. It’s important to confide in your loved ones from the very beginning and tell them how you feel. Be open and honest with them. At the same time, urge your family and friends to be open and honest with you. Sometimes loved ones of cancer patients try to act like everything is fine, even when it’s not. If this bothers you, tell them. Let your loved ones know how you feel (emotionally and physically) and allow them to give you support.

Whatever questions you may be wondering about your cancer diagnosis and treatment, write them down and bring them with you to your next doctor’s appointment. Don’t be afraid to ask any questions you may have. If you’re not sure what to ask, here are a few examples:

  • Where is my cancer located, and what stage is it? What does that stage mean?
  • Do I need any additional tests before I start treatment?
  • What is the prognosis for my cancer?
  • What’s the goal of the treatment you’re suggesting? Why?
  • What can I expect from treatment side effects? Will any of them be permanent? For instance, will I be able to have children after treatment?
  • Are there any clinical trials or other treatments I should consider?
  • How long will treatment last?

Since your treatment plan can vary in length and difficulty, the answer to this question is best sought from your doctor. He/she will know your specific treatment plan and will be able to discuss the probability for side effects that may make it difficult to work. Ask your doctor if you’re unsure about this question.

The financial implications are one problem that many cancer patients face. You may be worried about the financial aspect of this health dilemma and how much it will cost. Again, the answer to this depends on your specific treatment plan, how long it lasts, what’s involved, etc. However, oftentimes health insurance can cover a decent portion of cancer treatments. Consider consulting your health insurance provider to ask about cancer treatment costs, what’s covered and how your plan works.

What Loved Ones Can Expect After a Cancer Diagnosis

Hearing “you have cancer” affects not just the cancer patient, but loved ones like you. It can be intimidating and challenging to face a cancer diagnosis with a friend or family member who is going through a wide range of emotions. What role should you play as they begin their cancer treatment? How can you help? And what can you do to cope with the situation yourself? As you embark down this new road with your loved one, keep the following information in mind.

It’s impossible to fully comprehend what your loved one is thinking and feeling, but you should do your best to understand. There are physical, mental and emotional components your loved one may be dealing with right now. If they are just beginning the cancer treatment process, they may have anxiety, worry or confusion. Maybe your loved one is angry. Or maybe he/she is in denial. No matter what they are experiencing, try your best to put yourself in their shoes.

Once your loved one begins cancer treatment, they may begin to experience the physical hardships that accompany cancer – the side effects. Remind your loved one to keep their doctor up-to-date on any side effects they are experiencing. Many of the issues that arise during cancer treatments can be controlled, but your loved one’s doctor can’t do anything if they don’t speak up. Also, talk to your loved one’s doctor about ways you can help at home.

As your loved one continues cancer treatment, they may not be able to do all of the tasks they once could, like cooking meals, cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, taking the kids to their activities, etc. This is where you can help. However, keep in mind that your loved one may want to keep doing some things on their own, and you should try to let them stick to as normal of a routine as possible. Be there if your loved one needs you, but don’t force them to depend on you.

It’s normal for any person to become frustrated when they don’t understand why they’re in such a devastating situation. They may feel anxious and distracted from everyday life. They may act like the once important things in their life no longer matter. It’s your job to not take offense to these feelings and be as supportive as possible.

Cancer support groups are a wonderful way to connect with others who understand exactly what your loved one is dealing with. It may be hard to comprehend, but support groups may provide more emotional support than you can. In addition to recommending a cancer support group to your loved one, you could also join a caregiver support group to help yourself cope throughout this difficult journey.