When there is a cancer diagnosis...

Submitted on Friday June 12th, 2015
hospice winston-salem

If your parent recently received a diagnosis of cancer, you both may be feeling stunned, anxious, and overwhelmed. Here are tips to help.

Lay a foundation for the journey to come.

  • Acknowledge emotions. Anger, sadness, and confusion are among the many normal responses. And, of course, fear. Encourage your parent to talk about these feelings. Listen openly. Consider suggesting a support group with others who have had a cancer diagnosis.
  • Reassure them that you are in their corner. All cancer patients are advised to have a fact-gathering friend at medical appointments. Let your relative know if you can do this, or help find a trusted alternate.
  • Ask how much detail is desired. Your parent may want to know everything. Or may prefer to not know and defer to someone else for decisions. Let the medical team know your parent's preference.

Take the first key steps.

  • Get exact information. Ask the doctor what kind of cancer it is, its size, stage, and usual growth pattern.

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