House Call: Surviving cancer
Welcome back to UHC’s HouseCall on WDTV. Tonight is part two of our special series on surviving cancer. Joining us again, this week is Amber Shearer, nurse navigator at the Cecil B. Highland Jr. and Barbara B. Highland Cancer Center at United Hospital Center.
1). What are some suggestions that you provide to your patients on how they might explain their recovery to others?
There is no right way to deal with others about your illness, but you do need to think about what you will say when you are on the road to recovery. Some survivors do not want to focus on their cancer or be linked in
people’s minds with the disease. Others are very open about it, speaking frankly about concerns, clarifying wrong ideas, and deciding how to move forward. Many people in your life will respond differently to your cancer. Families and friends are often not prepared for the fact that recovery takes time. In general, your recovery will take much longer than your treatment did. Give yourself time. Let others know how you feel, what you are able to do as you heal, and what not to expect.
2). Is there anything I can do to prevent a cancer recurrence?
You can reduce your risk of cancer with healthy living. Healthy living includes physical activity, eating well, and not using tobacco. Less often, there are medical treatments to prevent cancer. Some people have surgery to remove a body part, like a breast, where cancer is likely to start. Some people take medication to lower hormone levels to reduce the chance of getting cancer. Your doctor will discuss these options if they apply to you.
Surveillance, or routine checking for a recurrence, often includes updating your health history, a physical exam, and in some cases blood tests or diagnostic scans.
Survivors have a higher risk of a new (second) cancer. Ask your health care provider about your chance of getting a second cancer and do your best to stay on track with any recommended screenings. If needed, genetic testing can confirm if you are at risk for a hereditary cancer.
3). What kind of support is available for cancer survivors?
There are many different resources available for cancer patients and these resources cover a variety of needs such as survivorship education (guidelines for screenings, cancer prevention, late, effects, and supportive care), support groups, counseling, and financial resources. The following are some of the commonly utilized support resources:
· National Cancer Institute
· American Cancer Society
· Patient Advocate Foundation
· Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
· Cancer Survivors Network
Amber, thank you for helping us to look at life in a new way during and after cancer treatment. That is all for House Call this week; however, if you would like to refer to this interview, please go to our website at www.wdtv.com and click on the “HouseCall” button. There is more 5 News to come on the broadcast this Friday evening. Stay with us.
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