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Cycle of Fear

FEAR OF CANCER. Did you ever say: "I can deal with it as long as it's not cancer?" Don't let your fear paralyze you. Just like the other one million Americans who are diagnosed each year*, you can deal with cancer.

DENIAL OF SYMPTOMS. Either you don't notice or you don't want to admit that there is something going on with your body tht is not right. Your denial may keep you away from the doctor—possibly preventing you from an early diagnosis.

FEAR OF DIAGNOSIS. We are all familiar with this fear. "Whatever it is can't be good," you say, "so do I really want to go to the doctor to get my suspicions confirmed?" Yes. The sooner you seek medical advice, the sooner you will know what problems you are facing and begin to treat them.

FEAR OF OUTCOME. Can I lick this? Will I survive? What if I don't? These are tough questions—you should focus your attention on living one day at a time.

FEAR OF RECURRENCE. You've been given a clean slate. Maybe your doctor used the word, “cure.” But can it really be true? Will the cancer ever truly be gone? You can never be 100 percent sure. But what I elect to do is focus on today.

FEAR OF SCREENING. You may be afraid that a screening test is going to be unpleasant or even worse—lead to bad news. Don't let this fear keep you from seeking the medical attention you need.

FEAR OF TREATMENT. We have all heard that cancer treatments are worse than the disease. This is not true. Modern technology and new medicines are making cancer treatments easier and more tolerable.


Cycle of Hope

CONDUCT SELF-EXAMINATIONS. Simple self-examinations between physical check-ups often can help you detect certain cancers in their early stages. Self breast and testicle examinations can be performed at home.

INSIST ON STATE-OF-THE-ART TREATMENT. New developments are made every day in cancer care. Make certain your doctor(s) are current with new procedures and are providing you with the best, most appropriate treatment options. This may include particpating in a clinical research trial.

KNOW YOUR RISKS. Age, race, smoking, prior family history, and prior health history are some of the known risk factors for cancer. Once you know your risks, you can be on the lookout for symptoms. But keep in mind that ultimately, everyone is at risk for cancer.

LEARN THE SYMPTOMS. Awareness of cancer's warning signals leads to early detection. Be in tune with your body and if things do not seem right, get them checked out.

LEARN ALL TREATMENT OPTIONS. Modern medicine offers more opportunities than ever before. Make certain your doctor informs you of the pros and cons of all treatment options that are right for you. You should also ask your doctor about clinical research trials.

MAKE YOUR TREATMENT A TEAM EFFORT. A team approach can improve your treatment and recovery. Your cancer team may include a medical oncologist, a radiation ocnologist, and a surgeon.

OBTAIN EARLY DIAGNOSIS. Many experts agree that early detection can probably prevent more deaths than any other approach**. The earlier you seek medical attention, the better your chances are of beating cancer.

SCHEDULE REGULAR SCREENINGS. Screenings, such as a mammogram and sigmoidoscopy, should be performed by your primary care physician at the recommended age and frequency. Screenings can detect changes in the body.