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Todd, a long-time HAP member, remembers the phone call
like it was yesterday.
“My dad told me the doctor diagnosed him with lung cancer
and gave him only three months to live. He was still working
and felt great, so he just couldn’t accept this doctor’s
prognosis … neither could I,” said Todd.
Together, they sought a second opinion — and a third
and even a fourth. Until fnally they found a Detroit-area
specialist with an encouraging bedside manner and a focus
on solutions not predictions. More than three years later,
the cancer is still in remission.
Vicki Rakowski, R.N. chief operating
ofcer of the American Cancer Society,
calls that the prescription for success.
“His father did all the right things. He
kept a positive attitude, called in his
support system and interviewed several
doctors. He also knew exactly what he
wanted — a specialist who would treat
him with dignity,” she says. “Most
cancers are diagnosed after age 55, and how you respond
makes all the diference.”
Early detection can make the diference between life and
death, so adults over 50 should be screened regularly for
breast, colon and other cancers. Also, by eating right,
exercising and avoiding risks such as smoking and obesity,
you can either reduce your risk of cancer or greatly improve
the odds of beating it.
If you are diagnosed, ask the type and stage of your cancer.
Then, call your family and friends for support, and start
learning as much as you can.
Taking Control of Cancer
LiveWell: Health
7
Vicki Rakowski,
R.N.
For more resources, or for a list of recommended
cancer screenings, visit
www.cancer.org
or call
toll-free
(800) 227-2345
. Additional information and
resources are available at
www.cancer.gov
or call
toll-free
(800) 4-Cancer
.
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions,” Vicki recommends.
What stage is your cancer?
What is the goal of treatment?
What are the side efects?
What happens when treatment ends?
What are your options?
“Don’t leave until all of your questions and concerns are
addressed and you feel you can make an informed decision.”
Vicki adds, “Consider getting a second opinion, especially if
you don’t connect with the doctor or aren’t given enough
options. And make sure you have an advocate, someone
who can be your listening ear at appointments and be there
for you.”