More often than not, people divide their lives into “My life before I got cancer” and “My life after I got cancer.” Most individuals just want the whole experience behind them as soon as possible. It is extremely important for anyone going through this difficult experience to take a step back; do not ignore your diagnosis, but take a moment to evaluate and understand your options. Once you have been informed of your diagnosis and treatment options you should consult with your physician, family and friends as to the best course of treatment for you. After all, it is your body and your well being.
There is no single option that is best for everyone. Age, general health and diagnoses all become considerations when deciding an option. Options could include “watchful waiting,” where you continue to follow up with your physician and track the progression, if any, of the disease. Some individuals will be “surgical” candidates. This involves a surgeon physically removing the tumor from the body. Another option is “medical oncology.” This is the administration of chemotherapy into the patient. Other patients will be candidates for “radiation therapy.” This is where the use of high energy X-rays are used to eliminate the cancer from the patient. Dependent upon several factors there are cases where the patient could undergo several of these treatments either in succession or concurrently.
The multitude of options makes gathering all of the information and considering different treatment options so important. Cancer is a complicated disease; new information regarding effectiveness, side effects and safety of treatments is continuously available. Talk with your doctor; ask for a second opinion if necessary. This will not reflect a poor opinion of your physician. A second opinion is very common place and most physicians themselves, when faced with a cancer diagnosis, will obtain a second opinion. This is a big decision in one's life and there are very few cancers that are so aggressive that you cannot take a few days to get another opinion and select the treatment that is most appropriate for you.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with cancer, please take the time to investigate your options. If you need assistance locating resources or would like more information on possible options, call us at 580-548-1131. At INTEGRIS Bass Radiation Oncology, our cancer team is here for you with advanced medicine and compassionate care.
Dr. Paul S. Erba, Radiation Oncologist
T. Geoffrey Luke, RT(T)
Supervisor, Team Leader