Coping with your first encounter with cancer as an adult

The first time you hear that someone you know has cancer is a scary experience, no matter how old you are.

While many people will have tragically been exposed to this type of experience when they are still a child – perhaps a parent, grandparent or friend was diagnosed with the illness – it is fairly common for people to reach adulthood without actually having encountered this terrible disorder in any of its forms.

On paper, it may seem as though it would be easier to process such news as an adult and to some extent this is true; we have lived through previous sadness so we should be emotionally better equipped. Far more information here : plastic surgeon Dr Michael ZachariaHowever, that is not to say it is in any way easy for an adult to see someone they know and love diagnosed with cancer.

In many ways, an adult has a fuller understanding of how tragic it is when someone suffers from such an illness before they reach old age and this can be even more upsetting than simply worrying about a person’s health.

Understand

If you are having trouble coping then you may want to start by seeking to understand more about the situation. It will not make it go away, but it may make you feel better to know more about the exact type of cancer they have, as well as some of the treatments they may want to consider; for example, intensity modulated radiotherapy, or IMRT.

With a little background reading done, you could talk to your friend about their diagnosis – if they are comfortable speaking about it – and how they are feeling. Their attitude may surprise you and you could even stumble across ways in which you can help them out; perhaps by taking them to the hospital occasionally.

React

Once you understand what is happening to your friend or family member, the next step is to react. You need to let yourself respond naturally to the news, while at the same time seeking to create some positives for yourself and for those around you.

This could mean simply doing more fundraising or donating regularly to a cancer charity, or you might find that it prompts a broader change in your attitude towards life – you could decide it is time to get up and start living, or that you should finally pursue a previously passed-over dream.

Support

No matter what positives you get out of the experience, your first thought needs to be with your friend who has been diagnosed with cancer. They are going to need the support of people around them if they are going to beat the illness – and medical research is helping to make this eventuality more likely by the day.

You know that things could go either way when it comes to such serious illnesses, so just think about what you can do to help them out. They may like you to help them get to grips with the medical situation they are facing, or they might like to come and hang out with you from time to time to just get away from it all – support comes in many forms.

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