Where to Begin: Navigating Your Cancer Journey

If you have recently received a cancer diagnosis, your mind is likely racing with questions.

  • How will I tell my children?
  • Will my cancer treatment be successful?
  • Do I need to take time off from work?
  • What happens next?

To alleviate as much uncertainty as possible, the radiation oncologists at SERO have compiled a resource guide that meets cancer patients where they are. Whether you’re newly diagnosed or a survivor facing cancer recurrence, SERO is here to provide support

Phase I: Newly Diagnosed

The days and weeks following a cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. To guide you through the first phase of your cancer journey, our radiation oncologists have developed several resources below.  


Referral, Diagnosis, & Clinical Staging

If lab results or symptoms suggest you have cancer, your primary care provider will refer you to an oncologist. This medical professional will run a series of tests to offer a definitive diagnosis. Educating yourself on what to expect during this initial step can provide peace of mind.


Coping With a New Cancer Diagnosis

After receiving an official diagnosis, you may experience a range of emotions – from anger to sadness to shock. To help you process these feelings, our radiation oncologists have compiled tips on managing the anxiety of living with cancer.


Sharing Your Cancer Diagnosis

Telling friends, family, and co-workers about your diagnosis can be frightening. They may not know what to say. Or, they may get emotional. Though these conversations are inherently challenging, there are some ways to make them easier.


Sharing Your Diagnosis With Young People and Children

Though it can be heart-wrenching to tell your children or grandchildren about your cancer diagnosis, hiding your illness is not the answer. Rather, you must equip yourself with the tools and knowledge needed to have an open and honest conversation.


The Stages of the Cancer Journey

One of the worst parts of cancer is the uncertainty. Not knowing what the future holds can cause severe anxiety. To ease some of this stress, our radiation oncologists have outlined the stages that most patients encounter on their cancer journey. 

Phase II: Radiation Treatment Planning

As soon as you receive a cancer diagnosis, your oncology team will begin planning treatment. Depending on the cancer type and stage, your treatment plan may include some combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation therapy. To better understand your options moving forward, review the resources below.


What Is Radiation Therapy

If you have recently received a cancer diagnosis, there’s a high probability that your oncologist will suggest radiation therapy. If the thought of receiving radiotherapy makes you nervous or scared, take the time to read more about this effective treatment modality.


Step by Step Guide to Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy is a localized and relatively painless cancer treatment option. However, it can still be unnerving. To help oncology patients feel more comfortable during treatment, our radiation oncologists have created a comprehensive guide to radiation therapy.


What Is a Cancer Treatment Plan

A cancer treatment plan is a roadmap to recovery, detailing your specific treatment modalities and treatment schedule. Understanding more about what these plans include and how they are created can ease the stress of receiving treatment.


Best Apps for Cancer Patients & Caregivers

There’s no replacing the expertise of a cancer care team. However, certain smartphone apps can provide the knowledge, emotional support, and organizational tools needed to successfully navigate your cancer journey.


Understanding the Costs of Cancer

Cancer has physical and emotional costs. But this disease also has monetary costs. Though these expenses can be overwhelming, there are many ways to afford high-quality cancer care without compromising your family’s financial stability.


Complete List of Cancer Resources

No matter the type or stage, cancer is a scary disease. Fortunately, you’re not alone in this journey. There are countless nonprofit organizations, support groups, and other community resources to lean on.

Phase III: In Treatment

Cancer treatment can be complicated. You have to manage appointments, testing, and medications all while possibly experiencing uncomfortable symptoms. The information in this section is designed to help you care for yourself – both emotionally and physically – while undergoing treatment. 


Is My Radiation Treatment Working

Though it can be difficult for patients to see or feel if radiation therapy is working, radiation oncologists can track progress using certain medical tests. It’s important to learn more about what these tests involve, as well as what will happen if radiotherapy doesn’t work.


Managing Side Effects

Many radiation therapy patients experience no side effects. However, others experience short-term effects like nausea and fatigue as well as long-term effects like infertility and second cancer. Here’s more on how you can manage, or potentially avoid, these symptoms.


Maintaining a Healthy Diet During Radiation Treatment

We all know the importance of a balanced diet. However, nutrition becomes even more important during radiation treatment. Educate yourself on which foods to eat and which to avoid before beginning treatment.


Living Your Life With Cancer

Cancer can be a demoralizing disease. You may not have the energy to socialize or enjoy your favorite hobbies. Or, you may struggle to balance medical appointments with work meetings. Though some of these frustrations are unavoidable, there are ways to live a happy, fulfilling life with cancer.  


How Radiation Affects the Immune System

Radiation works by killing cancer cells. Unfortunately, healthy cells are damaged in the process. This can weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. However, with some planning, you can boost your immunity and stave off nasty bugs.

Phase IV: Survivorship or Disease Progression

Even after finishing treatment, your cancer journey isn’t quite over. In the months and years to come, your cancer care team will continue to conduct diagnostic tests. Meanwhile, you will need to cope with lasting emotions like fear and anxiety. To help you move forward, we offer tips and guidance below. 


What Is Cancer Recurrence?

Recurrent cancer is cancer that comes back after remission. Knowing that your disease has returned can be devastating, especially since recurrent cancer is often harder to treat than a primary tumor. In this resource, our radiation oncologists discuss what to do when faced with cancer recurrence.


Survivorship Care Plan

A survivorship care plan details follow-up care such as oncology visits, diagnostic testing, and even lifestyle modifications. Learning more about what these plans include and how they benefit cancer survivors can provide peace of mind in the years to come.  


Your Health After Cancer Remission

Entering remission can be both exciting and stressful. You may wonder if there are any habits you can adopt to regain strength, rebuild muscle, and feel better overall. In this blog, our radiation oncologists offer suggestions for maintaining good health after finishing treatment. 


Long-Term and Late Treatment Side Effects

Unfortunately, the life-saving treatments you received during your cancer journey can cause mild-to-severe side effects later down the road. However, knowing what to look for can help you treat – and potentially mitigate – these issues.  

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