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Chronic Cancer Planner for Patients and Caregivers

Coming to terms with the diagnosis of a cancer that is considered chronic, vs. curable, is challenging – but there is a path forward. Managing cancer as a chronic illness may sometimes feel like an exhaustive and overwhelming reality. Working in conjunction with your physician, care team, friends, and family to make a personalized plan of action can relieve some of the anxiety.

Once you’ve been diagnosed with a cancer that’s treated as a chronic disease, it’s important to surround yourself with a strong system of support and have conversations about the long-term management of your illness, goals for treatment, and potential lifestyle adjustments and considerations.

Find Your Circle of Support

Whether it’s family members, friends or a trusted colleague, identify a person or a group of people to serve as your circle of support. Rely on these people to provide emotional support, offer advice and perspective on the decisions related to your illness, and help you balance the challenges of living with cancer.

Discuss Goals

Give thought to achievable goals that can be accomplished throughout your treatment, and share them with your care team and system of support. Think through considerations like:

  • Will I continue to be active throughout treatment?
  • Can I continue to work or travel throughout treatment?
  • Can I continue to practice my hobbies or as my body allows?
  • Will I need to adjust my eating habits to based on my treatment?

Make a Plan to Manage Pain and Side Effects

Discuss with your oncologist the recommended path forward to managing any side effects from your chronic cancer treatment.

Working with Cancer

Evaluate what you can and can’t do, and consider adjustments to your work life that can help you manage your chronic cancer with greater ease. Develop a list, and discuss with your care team, circle of support, and coworkers. Texas Oncology provides many resources to guide you through this process.

Care and Assistance: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Based on your condition, think through your needs for short-term and long-term care. Discuss needs and the potential for assistance with your physician and loved ones.

Every patient’s condition and experience is different, and it’s worth planning for and thinking through a cancer management plan that works for you. Learning to lean on others throughout your journey will enable you to continue to live fully, and even thrive, despite cancer.