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A New Perspective: Coping with Cancer as a Chronic Disease

Whether you have been diagnosed with a type of cancer that is considered “chronic” or your primary cancer has spread to other parts of your body, learning that you will have to live with cancer for the rest of your life can stir a range of emotions – fear, confusion, anger, and guilt – all of which are normal.

Learning to live with and manage cancer as a chronic illness, similarly to diabetes or a heart condition, requires a true partnership between you and your care team. Your doctor will need to monitor you closely to look for changes in your condition. You may require ongoing testing, treatment, and regular follow-up appointments to continually monitor your condition.

Below are helpful tips as you cope with a chronic cancer diagnosis.

  1. Take time to understand your diagnosis.
  2. Ask questions and communicate openly with your care team.
  3. Learn about your treatment plan and medication schedule – and stick to it.
  4. Take care of your emotional well-being.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek support.
  6. Eat a healthy diet and be active when you can.

A cancer diagnosis impacts every aspect of your life and the lives of those around you. A long-term cancer diagnosis means accepting and coming to terms with a new way of life, for the rest of your life.

Texas Oncology offers resources to help you every step of the way. The American Cancer Society also offers resources for patients with chronic cancer.