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Preparing for Cancer Surgery

A cancer diagnosis throws the new patient into a tailspin where the air is heavy with uncertainty and fear. With so much coming at you at once, it can be difficult to organize your thoughts, let alone get a firm grasp on the logistics of what is yet to come. Once a diagnosis is made and it is determined what stage of cancer you have – and how far it has spread if it all – a treatment plan will be put together. Your oncology team may decide at that point that surgery is necessary. Of course, surgery of any kind can be frightening, let alone a surgery that seems to have so much depending on its success. So how do you best prepare yourself for surgery?

Ask, ask, ask. Your questions – and the subsequent answers to those questions – are what will ultimately serve to put you most at ease. You have hopefully chosen a team with which you are very comfortable and where you feel that your concerns are treated with care and respect. Your questions should always be answered thoroughly so that you reach a level of comfort. It is always good to have a support team around you – whether it’s your family or friends – that can be an extra set of eyes and ears. Sit down together and make a list of questions you have about your upcoming surgery and count on your support people to think of questions you may not even think to ask. Take copious notes at your doctor appointments and be sure to follow up on anything that you don’t understand or about which you want more clarification.

Rally your troops. Support means everything to someone going through treatment for cancer. You may be a strong person and someone who is used to going through things alone but when it comes to something this important, it’s time to reach out to the people who care about you. Call on your friends and family to go with you to doctors appointments, be with you during treatment, and go along with you for your surgery.

Follow directions. Learn all you can about the details of the actual procedure you are having done, as well as what you can expect from your recovery. Prepare yourself to follow the directions of your medical team so that you can have the best opportunity for a successful outcome.

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