Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Uncertainty of Thyroid Cancer

Cancer can lead to uncertainty in many areas of your life, and this may be a cause of some of the emotions that you have. Feeling that we have some control over our lives gives us a sense of security and allows us to enjoy things that we do. It’s natural to want to know what is likely to happen to us, so that we can plan for our future.

When cancer is diagnosed, it can take away your sense of security and control and this can be very frightening. Uncertainty can be one of the hardest things to deal with and can cause a lot of tension. You may find that you feel irritable, angry and frightened. Sometimes it can help to find out as much as possible about the illness and what may happen. It is best to discuss this with the doctors and nurses who know you and are involved in your treatment. You can also ring our helpline and talk to one of our nurses about your situation.

Often, it’s difficult to know whether treatment will be successful and whether the cancer can be cured. Once treatment has ended you may be left wondering whether it will come back. This uncertainty can make it very hard to plan ahead and you may wish that you could know for sure what will happen.

Unfortunately, it is often impossible to know whether a person has been permanently cured of their cancer. If someone's cancer has come back it is often difficult to say exactly what effect it will have and how long they will live. You may find that your doctors and nurses can't answer your questions fully or that their answers sound vague. Many people find this uncertainty very hard to cope with.

If you find that the uncertainty is a continuing problem and you feel overwhelmed by it, it may help to talk to a counsellor or psychologist. They can help you to find ways of coping with the feelings and emotions that it causes.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer and think that you may die, sorting out your affairs so that things are in order and you know that friends or family will be alright can also be helpful. This may be very difficult and painful for you, members of your family and friends.

Instead of fighting the battle by yourself, you can find a thyroid cancer support group of people who are dealing with similar issues. Support groups are even available online.

Putting things in perspective, gaining self-control and finding support:

(1) Gather more information about risk factors for thyroid cancer. Two of the most common risk factors are exposure to radiation at an early age or a diet low in iodine.

(2) Know that there are many support groups for thyroid cancer survivors and the recently diagnosed. Many of these groups are available as online forums in popular social media channels such as Facebook, MySpace and LinkedIn.

(3) Speak with a nutritionist about the diet you should follow before your treatment. In general, thyroid cancer patients usually should eat foods high in calories and protein. If you are scheduled for Radioactive Iodine Therapy or Scan you should talk to your doctor about a Low Iodine Diet which is required 2 weeks prior to the procedure. 

(4) Contact local hospitals and inquire about thyroid cancer support groups and general support groups. Hospitals are one of your best sources for local information in your community.

(5) Start your own support group. You can create your own Web site to start an online support forum or establish a local group by working with your hospital to advertise your group's presence.

Finally, you can join our online community on Facebook

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