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| How to Cope
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How to Cope
The trauma associated with the diagnosis of cancer can make coping difficult. “Normal” coping strategies may not be sufficient to maintain proper psychological and emotional well-being. As such, it becomes important to recognize your needs and seek out assistance to help you meet the many challenges you will likely face. Because you are unique, there is no one way to cope with cancer. Instead, it is incumbent upon every person with cancer to develop his/her own coping strategy.
While there is no ideal approach, there are some ways of coping that seem to be more effective in helping a person deal with a serious illness. To effectively cope with cancer, your strategy should include the “four A’s”:
- Be AWARE of all your needs.
- ASSESS your ability to cope with cancer.
- ACKNOWLEDGE when you need help.
- ACCEPT the help that is offered.
A diagnosis of cancer not only affects your physical health, but also impacts virtually every other aspect of your life including your mental, emotional, social, and financial well-being. These non-medical challenges are referred to as supportive care needs and can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Therefore, it is importance to maintain an awareness of your supportive care needs throughout your experience with cancer.
The next step to addressing your supportive care needs involves assessing how able you are to cope with cancer. This can entail a self-assessment or having a formal one done by a healthcare professional. The advantage of a professional assessment is that you will get an objective opinion from someone experienced at evaluating your ability to cope before, during, and after cancer treatment.
Once you have assessed your ability to cope with cancer, the next step is to recognize when and how you need help. Improving your ability to cope with cancer is important to achieving a better quality of life both during and after treatment. Acknowledging what help you need and when you need it is critical to coping with cancer.
If you are in the habit of taking care of yourself, accepting help from someone else may seem difficult. Whether assistance comes from family, friends, or professionals, your willingness to allow others to provide you with care and support is important to achieving an improved capacity to cope with cancer. Freely accepting help when offered will better enable you to focus on healing your body and mind throughout your cancer experience.