50to120 - Living Your Best, Healthy Senior Life

Diagnosis Cancer. Now What?

February 09, 2021 Mark Burright Season 1 Episode 6
50to120 - Living Your Best, Healthy Senior Life
Diagnosis Cancer. Now What?
Chapters
50to120 - Living Your Best, Healthy Senior Life
Diagnosis Cancer. Now What?
Feb 09, 2021 Season 1 Episode 6
Mark Burright

Today's show is titled 'Diagnosis Cancer. Now What? 

Now what we're going to discuss what you and your caregiver needs to consider if you have been diagnosed with cancer. I know when my dad was diagnosed in April of 2001, with multiple myeloma, my mother and I and the rest of the family, we were completely lost. We didn't know what to do. We didn't know where to start. To begin with, we didn't know what multiple myeloma was. And frankly, the first doctor's appointment with the oncologist, he didn't really explain it. He just said, hey, you've got multiple myeloma, you've got three to four months to live. That's it. We didn't know what to do at that point. For that matter, we really didn't understand what cancer was either. We knew it was something you didn't want to get, but we didn't really get what cancer was all about. 

www.seniors50to120.com 

Show Notes Transcript

Today's show is titled 'Diagnosis Cancer. Now What? 

Now what we're going to discuss what you and your caregiver needs to consider if you have been diagnosed with cancer. I know when my dad was diagnosed in April of 2001, with multiple myeloma, my mother and I and the rest of the family, we were completely lost. We didn't know what to do. We didn't know where to start. To begin with, we didn't know what multiple myeloma was. And frankly, the first doctor's appointment with the oncologist, he didn't really explain it. He just said, hey, you've got multiple myeloma, you've got three to four months to live. That's it. We didn't know what to do at that point. For that matter, we really didn't understand what cancer was either. We knew it was something you didn't want to get, but we didn't really get what cancer was all about. 

www.seniors50to120.com 

Well, good morning. Good afternoon. Good evening. Happy to be here with you. Today's show is titled diagnosis cancer. 

Now what we're going to discuss what you and your caregiver needs to consider if you have been diagnosed with cancer. I know when my dad was diagnosed in April of 2001, with multiple myeloma, my mother and I and the rest of the family, we were completely lost. We didn't know what to do. We didn't know where to start. 

To begin with, we didn't know what multiple myeloma was. And frankly, the first doctor's appointment with the oncologist, he didn't really explain it. He just said, hey, you've got multiple myeloma, you've got three to four months to live. That's it. We didn't know what to do at that point. For that matter, we really didn't understand what cancer was either. We knew it was something you didn't want to get, but we didn't really get what cancer was all about. The next question was, you know, where should he be treated? Where should we take him? Who will we be working with? Should he have a team of doctors or not? Do they have teams of doctors with cancer? You know, we just didn't know. The other thing that we are really confused about is what his treatment options were, what should we do? What should he do for treatment, what was the best treatment for him to have to increases life expectancy beyond this three or four months, we had heard about natural Pathak medicine. But it really didn't understand what that was either. We didn't know if that should be incorporated into his treatment. 

The other thing we had people telling us we had some people saying, Hey, you know, you get a good doctor, you don't need a second opinion. But our concern is what should he get a second opinion? And I know, I've heard of people even getting a third opinion, is this something that we should be doing? 

What other resources were available to help my dad and the family through this entire process? We knew that there was support groups out there there was one at our church as an example. Should we be involved in support groups? Would that be helpful? Would diet exercise help was a things like that, that we need to incorporate with this journey that he was going to have with multiple myeloma? 

The other thing is, how can he learn to be an active participant in his care, not a passive participant but an active participant through this process? Last, you know, how can we really find reliable information on the internet? Gov early on the tour is over 1 billion pages of information if you put cancer into the Google search engine. So that was extremely overwhelming. What is it what information is good, what information is bad? 

We needed to understand what to do and put this show together today to try to help people through this process from the experience that we went through. And I'm going to talk to begin with about what kind of cancer do you have? Once you receive a diagnosis of cancer. Your doctor should give you information about the type of cancer you have. Cancer is not just one disease, there are many types of cancer. Cancer can start in many different places in the body. It can start in the lungs, the breast, the colon, or even in the blood like with my father. 

Now, how are cancers different? Some types of cancers are best treated with surgery. Others though do better with drugs like chemotherapy, which people tend to call just chemo, often two or more treatments are given to get the best results. 

Now the next question is you seek treatment suggests a specialized cancer treatment center is your best bet to obtain the latest and most beneficial care for your cancer. Cancer Treatment Centers may be freestanding facilities or affiliated with a community hospital or an academic medical center. We have found that to University Hospitals are a good place to go. The other thing you want to do is look for National Cancer Institute approved facilities as well. 

When we look at cancer, it's really important that you understand that you need to have a team of doctors working on your situation. So you're going to need a team of cancer specialists to diagnose and treat your cancer. The number of doctors, nurses and other health care professionals on the team may vary depending on the type of cancer you have examples you're going to have surgery you need a specialist as a surgical oncologist. In many cases, these specialists work closely together at specialized treatment centers for an example of breast cancer treatment facility, or through tumor boards at their hospital that help in developing your treatment plan. Now again, this is a good question to ask your doctor. Do you have a tumor board here at your hospital? And the answer you want to hear is yes. 

Also ask friends, family and co workers if they know of an experienced cancer specialist that they can recommend. Your local hospital or medical center should have a referral service that will provide you with a list of cancer specialists affiliated with that particular institution. The next thing that you really have to consider closely what are my treatment options.

Your team of cancer specialists will recommend the best treatment options for your type of cancer again, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or some combination of those things. Different types of cancers behave very differently, growing at different rates and responding to different treatments in a variety of ways. 

I want to mention real quick that sometimes you'll get with a doctor and let's say you're an older person like myself, and the doctor determines because of your age, you may not be susceptible to a particular treatment option. However, your age really isn't the important factor, your physical condition is what's important. I've seen 75 year old cancer patients that are in physically good shape going to shape as a 50 or 55 year old that can tolerate a treatment that a 75 year old that wasn't in good physical condition could not make sure that your doctors Look at this, but they're not just looking at your age, but also your physical condition. 

The treatment of cancer can be defined in several ways and it may be helpful to clarify some points before describing the specific types of treatment first, primary treatment is the definitive treatment or the treatment that is designed to potentially eliminate the disease. Surgery is often the primary treatment, but radiation therapy chemotherapy, and nature Pathak medicine may also be a primary treatment approach. Combining these together puts you into a integrative medicine situation, which is really where you want to be.

 In some cases, treatment is given after primary treatment to destroy any deposits of cancer cells that may remain or that may be too small to be detected. With laboratory testing or imaging studies. This treatment known as adjunct therapy decreases the risk of recurrence, which can help extend survival. treatment may also be given before primary treatment to help shrink a tumor, for example, to make it easier to surgically remove the tumor. Another point to clarify is that there is overlap and how many types of treatment are defined. For example, chemotherapy is defined as the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. This definition actually applies to any treatment involving drugs, including hormone therapy and targeted therapy. However, chemotherapy usually means treatment with conventional anti cancer drugs that have been used for years. 

Always ask your doctor for clarification if you do not understand the discussion of your treatment options. naturopathic medicine and cancer care indies work together with your team of doctors to regularly discuss your individual treatment plan. The goal of this type of medicine is to create a healthy environment both inside and outside the body. This is a specialist significant for people with cancer. This type of medicine takes a holistic or whole person approach to cancer care. It makes use of time tested scientifically grounded natural methods to strengthen the body's ability to heal itself. That goals and naturopathic medicine for people undergoing cancer treatment include support normal metabolism during treatment, decrease side effects of cancer treatment, boost the body's immune system, provide strategies for long term cancer prevention and health maintenance and improve energy well being an overall quality of life. 

Now the next subject is something that's really close to my heart should you get a second or even a third opinion once you're diagnosed with cancer, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to seek a second or even a third opinion from a qualified cancer specialist. Getting a second opinion involves asking another cancer specialists or group of specialists to review your medical records and confirm your doctor's diagnosis and treatment plan. Other specialists can confirm your pathology report and stage of cancer, it might suggest changes or alternatives to the proposed treatment plan. They can also answer any additional questions you may have. There is often collective wisdom gained from the experience and opinions of different oncology specialists who are experts in the type of cancer that you have. There are lots of reasons for seeking a second opinion. Some doctors may favor one treatment approach, while others may suggest a different combination of treatments. Doctors  oncology specialty bring different training perspectives to cancer treatment planning. Another doctor's opinion may change the diagnosis or you even reveal a treatment plan that your first doctor was not even aware of. You need to hear arguments for all of the treatment options a second
opinion is also a way to make sure your pathology, diagnosis and staging are accurate and that you are aware that clinical trials may be available and you may want to consider these. I also want to add another point depending on the cancer facility that you've been diagnosed at or possibly being treated at, they may not offer within their facility, all of the treatment options that are out there that are available. 

There may very well be a cancer facility in your same town or close to you, that offers different treatment options because they have different people that are have different qualifications and the equipment to do different things when it comes to treatment. If you are asked to consider alternatives such as surgery, radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy, you might want to hear from each type of oncologists who provides that treatment It's alright to look at all of your options. A second opinion could save your life or better protect your quality of life, most doctors welcome another doctor's opinion. second opinions are also valuable if you live in a small town or rural area where there may not be as many oncology specialists, especially if you have an uncommon type of cancer or might need a highly specialized or complicated type of care. If so, you may want to get an opinion for specialists at a larger Medical Center or comprehensive cancer center with particular expertise in treating your type of cancer. 

I also want to mention that there are ways to get second opinions that aren't really really costly. First of all, most health insurance out there encourages a second opinion. Secondly, there's organizations out there I'll mention one Leukemia Lymphoma Society as an example, which will take a look at your situation if you want a second opinion. And let's say you live in Portland, Oregon, up around where we're at here, and the specialists that you really need to see the expert is in Los Angeles leukemia Lymphoma Society has funds available to do things like pay for your airfare, your hotel, your car rental, and all of those things. So if your insurance company isn't willing to do those things, there's other associations and societies and nonprofits out there that have money especially for these things. 

One thing is certain you will need support from family, friends and strangers to help you get through the emotional financial challenges as well as the everyday practical concerns associated with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. being your own advocate means making sure you're receiving the best possible care for your cancer. Be an informed consumer of healthcare and work with your health care providers. Many Hospital Medical Centers have patient advocates to help you deal with questions and issues related to your cancer care. There are also our national patient advocacy organizations, which I've talked a little bit about earlier for most of the common cancers that are out there. But in the long run, you are your own best advocate. Really, really get involved or have a caregiver or a family member get involved on your behalf.

 Once you are diagnosed with cancer, request copies of your medical records so you know your exact diagnosis and the test used to determine it, especially your pathology report. As your own advocate, you want to make sure you're receiving care from a physician with experience and expertise in treating your particular type of cancer.

Here are some other things you can do for yourself during your cancer care. Get together with your loved ones and decide on the best treatment facility for you. Ask your doctor and other health care providers about clinical trials of new treatments for your cancer. Go to the internet where there's a wealth of information, learn all you can about your treatment, its side effects, and tips for surviving cancer. 

It's important that you understand the potential side effects not only while you're going through cancer treatment, but for the long run as well. In other words, you could be five or six years out and be cancer free and still be suffering from the side effects of the cancer treatment that you have. You need to understand what those potential problems may be. 

While you're going through cancer treatment, you will need help both physically, emotionally, folks, reach out to your friends and your family for help. If you're a caregiver, reach out for help as well from families and friends, your church or synagogue or mosque, reach out to the help that you need to be able to get through this people want to help they want to go grocery shopping for you. They want to cook meals for you. They want to take you to your appointments. Please do reach out. 

It's a good idea to identify more than one person to help you with your daily tasks. You can help your caregivers by making a list of important phone numbers such as the numbers of your doctor, nurse pharmacists and Family members, neighbors, friends and spiritual leaders. Keep a copy of this list next to your phone. Also make a list of the drugs you take, how often you take them and the doses. Let your caregivers know about the side effects as well. In addition, tell your caregivers where to locate important paperwork, such as your insurance policy, Social Security papers, living will and power of attorney, your friends and family can often offer you emotional support, and can join you in support group meetings. 

The next question we hear this all the time. Well, diet exercise helped me through this process. Well, proper nutrition and exercise will help you get through the treatment and improve your health. You know, even before you start treatment, unless there's something you have to do immediately. One of the things you can do to prepare yourself for treatment is to do a little movement, you want to start getting into a little bit better shape, you want to start eating better than possibly you have been before you start treatment. It'll just help you get through that treatment that much better. Under no circumstances should you begin any diet or exercise course without talking to your doctor. Getting the right kind of nutrition and exercise during cancer treatment may help you fight fatigue, and other side effects of the therapy as well. Keep in mind that your nutritional needs might change during treatment. And while the last thing you may want to do is exercise after receiving chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. exercise can be effective in reducing not only fatigue, but also anxiety and depression. You should ask your physician if you should speak to a dietitian or a physical therapist about diet and exercise routines that may be beneficial for you.

 Now again, back to our website, you'll find a section on nutrition that has some really cool recipes. As an example if you're going through radiation, you know, we understand what that's like. And there's been recipes developed specifically for you. If you're going through chemotherapy, there's recipes that have been developed specific for your situation. So you might want to take a look at that diagnosis of cancer can be overwhelming. You may not know what questions to ask what resources are available or where to begin whole idea behind what we've developed here from our experience is a website that is if you will a one stop shop, you should be able to go to the website and find most of the information that you need that is credible information that you can completely have confidence in, check out the website. 

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