What is cancer?

  • Cancer is a disease in which your cells grow out of control. It can affect any part of the body.
  • Getting a cancer diagnosis can be a shock and coping with the tests and treatments is hard.
  • The first goal of cancer treatment is to cure the cancer. Many people survive it.
  • When it is not possible to cure it, then the goal is to help you cope with having advanced cancer, to prevent it from spreading and to limit your symptoms.

What can help you reach your goal for cancer?

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Have a healthy lifestyle.

See tips for having a healthy lifestyle.

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Look after your mental health

  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings: anger, sadness,
    grief, fear, loneliness.
  • Work towards having a positive attitude; look for what
    is good. Try to find ways in which your cancer has made you a stronger person.
  • If you struggle to do this alone, seek help from a counsellor, a trusted friend, a support group or a cancer buddy.
  • Consider the effect your cancer has on your loved ones and seek help for them too if need be.
  • For more tips on looking after your mental health.

Keep a check on your condition

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Make sure you keep your appointments for check-ups and follow-up tests.

Know the signs of your cancer spreading or returning. Contact your healthcare worker if they occur.

Take your medication as instructed

  • Ask your healthcare worker what side effects to expect from your treatment and how to cope with them.
  • If you are unsure how to take your medication, ask your healthcare worker for help.
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Know when to seek healthcare

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Seek healthcare if you experience troublesome treatment side effects.

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Meet with your healthcare worker to plan for your treatment and to choose what care you would like if you become too unwell to decide.

If your cancer spreads and a cure is no longer possible, ask for palliative care to help you and your family cope with the symptoms and stresses of having advanced cancer.