Mouth Cancer Diagnosis Coping

Coping with mouth cancer begins with the heart-stopping words of a positive diagnosis. In those first days, fears and a sense of helplessness are overwhelming. You’ll need some initial time to let the news sink in before you move forward. The more quickly you learn about the extent of your cancer, the sooner you can begin to explore available treatments. Coping skills will develop, partly from human instinct and partly from the power of knowledge and support.

Coping with a Mouth Cancer Diagnosis

In the days and months ahead, you’ll be facing many issues with regard to mouth cancer. Some will be emotional while others will be logistical. Treatment choices, side effects and chances of recovery are among the many practical issues. Finances, insurance coverage and how to share the news with children or other family members are additional factors.

Understanding Emotional Issues Surrounding Mouth Cancer

When you have cancer, the impact on current and future quality of life is certainly at the forefront of your thoughts. Learning to cope with the emotional side of mouth cancer is just as important as addressing the physical aspects.

Even with no outward signs, you’re going to feel very self-aware. Emotional pain paired with lowered levels of self-esteem can lead to depression.

When you’re facing treatment options and following through with a treatment plan, you can find ways to cope from a number of sources.

  • Family and friends: It’s a natural instinct to want to protect those you love. Including family members and friends is a very personal choice. Many choose to enlist encouragement from their church groups. Be honest with those who do know; they’ll be important parts of your support team.
  • Physician and treatment team: Your cancer team is ready to answer any questions. Don’t be afraid to request a full understanding of the treatment processes. Experts say that some patients feel reluctant to discuss the details of surgery or other therapies. You’ll feel more in control of your own treatment if you understand the steps involved.
  • Prescriptives: You’ll become familiar with many feelings, ranging from despair and depression to grief and anger. It’s possible to cope with milder emotional symptoms on your own. Keep in mind, however, that sometimes medication can be a temporary aid in dealing with the fears surrounding mouth cancer.
  • Setgoals and make plans: Making lists and plans are mental lifters for some people, while others prefer to focus on the present. Daily and weekly goals can give you a sense of the future and raise feelings of hope for a positive outcome. Choose activities, whether small or large in scope, that you look forward to.
  • Support groups and mentors: Some cancer patients cope best by joining a support group. Others are more comfortable in a one-on-one environment. Your specialist can give you lists of groups and can possibly put you in contact with mouth cancer survivors. The Internet also offers a wealth of forum interaction.
  • Take your time: Understand that you won’t feel up to normal challenges every day. You may experience emotional ups and downs daily or even hourly. In time, you will begin to rebound as you continue learning to cope with mouth cancer and treatments. Soon, you’ll move forward as a survivor, but take it at your own pace.

Coping with Effects of Treatments

Different treatments affect patients in varying ways. You may be undergoing radiation, chemotherapy, surgery or a combination of therapies. Understanding side effects during and after any of these treatments will help you prepare to cope in the best way possible.

Regardless of treatment, side effects can exist to some extent. Some will be temporary while others are long-term. Facial and vocal changes may occur, and these can be most devastating. Keep in mind that many newer reconstructive techniques potentially allow you to return to a nearly normal lifestyle.

It’s important during these times to focus on feeling better. Creating a healthful diet and taking time to nurture your physical wellbeing are coping techniques that can also impact your future health.

Terminal Mouth Cancer and its Implications

At some point, facing the unknowns of cancer might also include the facing possibility of death. This is a time when many make reconnections with their faith.

Inner strength, as well as encouragement from the spiritual community, is indeed a great force for those coping with mouth cancer in its terminal stage. You may also wish to prepare for practicalities.

These include hospice arrangements and making provisions for loved ones. Many who speak of this period say they reach a point of affirmation and acceptance. They appreciate having the time to prepare and express untold feelings in new ways.

Resources

Cancer.org (2007). Coping With the Side Effects and Complications of Treatment. Retrieved August 14, 2007, from the American Cancer Society, Inc. Web site: http://www.cancer.org/docroot/CRI/content/CRI_2_4_4X_Summary_of_Side_Effects_and_Complications_of_Treatment_60.asp.Cancerhelp.org.uk (2002).

Coping with Mouth Cancer. Retrieved August 14, 2007, from the Cancer Research UK Web site: http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/help/default.asp?page=13222.

Mayoclinic.com (2007). Coping Skills. Retrieved August 14, 2007, from the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research Web site: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/oral-and-throat-cancer/DS00349/DSECTION=9.