As you discuss your mouth cancer treatment options with your doctor, you may feel overwhelmed. It can be a confusing time, as you're trying to come to terms with your new diagnosis, but also being pressed to make treatment decisions. Cope with this uncertainty by taking control of what you can. For instance, try to:
Nov. 02, 2012
- Learn enough about mouth cancer to make treatment decisions. Make a list of questions to ask at your next appointment. Bring a recorder or a friend to help you take notes. Ask your doctor about books or websites to turn to for information. The more you know about your cancer and your treatment options, the more confident you'll feel as you make treatment decisions.
- Talk to other mouth cancer survivors. Connect with people who understand what you're going through. Ask your doctor about support groups for people with cancer in your community. Or contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society. Another option is online message boards, such as those run by the Oral Cancer Foundation.
- Take time for yourself. Set aside time for yourself each day. Use this time to take your mind off your cancer and do what makes you happy. Even a short break for some relaxation in the middle of a day full of tests and scans may help you cope.
- Keep family and friends close. Friends and family can provide both emotional and practical support as you go through treatment. Your friends and family will likely ask you what they can do to help. Take them up on their offers. Think ahead to ways you might like help, whether it's asking a friend to prepare a meal for you or asking a family member to be there when you need someone to talk with.
- Flint PW, et al. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05283-2..X0001-8--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05283-2&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Head and neck cancers. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- What you need to know about oral cancer. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/wyntk/oral. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Lip and oral cavity cancer treatment (PDQ). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/lip-and-oral-cavity/patient. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- The oral cancer exam. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/OralCancer/TheOralCancerExam.htm. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Cancer-related fatigue. Fort Washington, Pa.: National Comprehensive Cancer Network. http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
- Erbitux (prescribing information). Branchburg, N.J.: Eli Lilly and Company; 2012. http://www.erbitux.com. Accessed Sept. 14, 2012.
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