Preparing For Treatment

Your cancer has taken a long time to reach its present size. Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, it is advisable to take some time before you start treatment to have additional tests, learn more about your disease and treatment options, talk with loved ones about your illness, and plan for your future.

Be sure to tell your doctor about any symptoms you already have before you begin a treatment regimen, such as shortness of breath and fatigue, as well as any symptoms that may result from your treatment regimen. Some disease symptoms can be managed before you even begin therapy to help you tolerate treatment better.

Other measures to take to prepare for treatment include:

Quit Smoking. If you smoke, your treatment may be more successful if you quit. In fact, most surgeons will insist that you stop smoking before surgery. It is also helpful if you can avoid secondhand smoke. Ask your doctor or nurse about treatment or smoking cessation programs to help you or members of your family quit smoking.

Meet with a Nutritionist or Dietician. Nutrition can make a difference in how well you recover from the effects of treatment. Consider meeting with a nutritionist or dietitian before you start any treatment—surgery, radiation therapy, or chemotherapy—to help ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need before, during, and after treatment.

Be Physically Active. Physical activity is also important in optimizing your cancer treatment. If you are already an active person, maintain your activities as much as possible even if you need to modify your routine. Be sure to discuss your exercise program with your health care providers.

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