Coping With Cancer

There's no question that cancer is a serious disease. Hundreds of thousands of people die of cancer every year, and one in four now living will eventually die of its devastating effects.

To be told that you have cancer can be a very traumatic experience. In fact, many are so fearful of hearing such news that they avoid or delay a visit to a physician, even when they are aware of cancer's warning signals in their own bodies.

At the other extreme is the woman who recently developed a sore throat after hearing that this is often a sign of a more serious condition such as cancer. She then took her own life and that of her infant son because she knew she would die and was afraid that she had already given cancer to her son. Tragically she was wrong on both counts. She did not have cancer, nor could she have transmitted it to her son if she had.

It's such misinformation that makes it difficult for individuals to handle the problem more realistically. First of all, a diagnosis of cancer is not a death sentence. Prompt care results in cure for almost half of all cases. Even if a cure is not possible, you may now live long and comfortably with proper support from family and medical personnel, and your adherence to a well-balanced lifestyle.

Obviously some cancers are more easily cured than others. For example, skin melanomas can be diagnosed early and removed almost painlessly. When detected early, cervical cancer (pap smear) and breast cancer (self-examination) are likewise quickly cured. Some, however, because of their location (bone and brain cancers) or the absence of early warning signals (ovarian cancer) are often discovered too late to prevent deadly spread (metastasis) from occurring.

Even without treatment some cancers disappear (remission), due most likely to supportive psychological support and a changed diet and/or lifestyle.

Let's suppose, however, that you are destined to live with your cancer. What can you do?

First, learn as much as you can about your condition. Next, seek the best and most reasonable treatment. Cooperate fully with your body's need for the very best in diet, rest, exercise, etc. Accept the emotional support of those family members and friends who make your life so meaningful. Be at peace with yourself, and enjoy life's blessings to the fullest.

Health | General

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