A mole that looks strange. A lump in your breast. A cough that does not seem to go away. Chances are, at some point in your life, you may have a cancer scare. Most of the time, it will turn out negative. However, sometimes, your doctor may be concerned and would want a closer look. They might want to remove a piece of tissue using a disposable biopsy punch to be analyzed in a laboratory. It will be difficult to keep dark thoughts at bay while you wait for the results, so here are some things to keep in mind while you go through this terrifying experience.
False Alarms are Normal
When a doctor finds something abnormal, it does not automatically mean you have cancer. Abnormal cancer screenings happen all the time. In the majority of the cases, the results turn out negative. It is done to make sure that the changes in the cells would not lead to cancer.
In fact, 35% of women over the age of 50 have had an abnormal pap smear or mammogram. Most of the time, they do not have cancer.
Remember that screening is not a diagnosis. Instead, think of it as part of a regular routine that you have to do to make sure that you are healthy. Screening is done to minimize the risk of cancer and to catch it while it is in its earliest stages when it is easiest to treat.
Be Attentive to What Your Doctor is Saying
Hearing the word cancer in the clinic is terrifying, but do not get overwhelmed. Your doctor will explain to you what they found and what it means. Focus on what they are saying. If need be, try to jot down information so you can avoid misremembering what they have discussed with you. This is also the time to ask questions to your doctor to quell the fear and anxiety you would feel.
Do Not Google
You might want to stay away from the internet while you wait for the results to come out. Searching your symptoms and illnesses may only exacerbate the negative feelings you already feel. It rarely serves as a reassurance so why bother. If you have to learn what you can about cancer, only read official resources like government websites and scientific journals.
Try to relax as much as you can. Do things that take your mind off of your concerns like reading, watching movies, listening to music, play video games, etc. You can also try simple breathing exercises or guided meditation to reduce stress.
When the Results Finally Come Out
When you do get a cancer diagnosis, your doctor will discuss the illness. They would tell you the treatment options available to you and their corresponding success rates.
You may also want to get a second opinion from another specialist in your area. Ask for copies of your pathology report, operative report (if you had surgery), a list of all the medications prescribed to you, and treatment plans suggested to you. The other doctor will want to review them.
Thanks to the advancements in medicine, cancers are no longer death sentences. The illness can be defeated, especially if caught early. Whether you are waiting for the results of a biopsy or has received a diagnosis, try to relax.