Things to consider when you're first diagnosed

When you are first diagnosed with cancer, you may feel overwhelmed with information. Knowing what to focus on will help your thoughts feel more organized.

What you need to know

Whether you are a patient or a caregiver, these ten tips will be helpful when you are first facing a colorectal cancer diagnosis.

Learn as much as you can about your diagnosis

Ask questions about your diagnosis. Bring someone to take notes during office visits, or record them to listen later. Expect the unexpected: it’s normal to face changes and challenges during treatment.

Put together the right medical team

Your treatment may need specialized experts. A surgeon, oncologist, social worker, fertility expert, and others may work together on your care team. Your doctor can help you build the right one.

Improve your treatment options with testing

Ask your doctor about: Biomarker testing Genetic testing for inherited conditions Clinical trials

Always seek a second opinion

Seek opinions from experts who take a multidisciplinary approach to treatment. Find these experts at teaching hospitals or the National Cancer Institute.

Get support as a caregiver (or for your caregiver)

Caregivers receive a lot of information, and it can be overwhelming. Allow yourself guilt-free time and find ways to reduce stress when you can.

Ask for help.

Coping with life while you are going through colorectal cancer treatment can be hard. Accept help when you can, and don’t be afraid to ask for the specific help you want and need.

Reach out for support

Support resources that can guide you include: Patient and family navigators Our peer-based Buddy Program Cancer Support Community’s Helpline

Find your community

A new cancer diagnosis can feel isolating. Our Alliance Online Community offers a national network of survivors and advocates stand ready to be your ally.

Manage stress and lifestyle

Manage stress, maintain a balanced diet, and get regular exercise to gain control, an emotional uplift, boost your energy, and reduce stress. Don't let the cancer-related thoughts consume you. Allow yourself to take time away from the disease.

Insurance, employment & financial resources

Learn about: Your insurance plan and its benefits. Find out how your employer will handle your time away from work. Ways to manage the costs of cancer care.

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