Dealing with cancer

The word “cancer” frightens us and raises a lot of eyebrows. A cancer diagnosis is upsetting for the person affected by it and for his/her loved ones. The fight for life that ensues is marked by hurdles as well as victories. Having a better understanding of this new reality can make it easier to deal with.

Demystifying cancer

To get a better grasp of the disruptions caused by cancer, you have to know what they are. The body is made of billions of cells which come together to form organs and tissue. It is completely normal for these cells to divide for all sorts of reasons (growth, healing, replacement of aging cells), which produces new identical “daughter” cells. The cell division process is very structured and several mechanisms come into play to ensure that all goes well.

However, in some situations, cell division does not happen as expected. When this occurs, certain processes are set into motion to counter this anomaly. For example, the immune system can detect the unusual cells and destroy them before they harm the body. However, cancer cells have several tricks up their sleeve to outsmart the body’s defense mechanisms. Because identical cells are created, the repeated cell divisions produce a large quantity of cancer cells which generate a tumour.

Cancer can develop anywhere within the body. The name of the cancer refers to the area where the initial tumour originated. For example, if the cancer cells appear in the prostate, we say the person suffers from prostate cancer. Sometimes, the cancer cells break away from the initial tumour and enter the blood stream. Because the blood circulates throughout the body, the cancer cells may spread to other parts of the body, creating secondary cancer sites called “matestases”.

Living with cancer

Learning you have cancer is a difficult situation to cope with. The fact is that this disease disrupts your daily life. Although it is associated with early death, several people beat cancer. “Be informed!” is the watchword you should put into practice right away. Being well-informed about cancer makes it easier to find valuable and helpful resources to face the eye of the storm.

Cancer involves treatments that are often difficult to tolerate. They vary greatly according to the type of cancer, the stage of the disease and the treatment objective. Chemotherapy or radiation therapy cause a range of adverse effects. However, it’s good to know that they differ from one treatment to the next. So, hair loss, which is often associated with cancer treatments, doesn’t always occur. Moreover, you aren’t alone to deal with the drawbacks of the treatments and several tips can help you cope with them. Therefore, it’s important not to withhold anything from the medical team so they can help you as much as possible.

Furthermore, the changes that occur are not only physical, but also psychological and spiritual. Cancer is the source of a range of emotions that flow one after the other (fear, anxiety, anger, etc.). This experience doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone and each person lives it in his/her own way. There are various resources to help you manage this aspect of the disease. Therefore, don’t hesitate to ask for help or support.

Preventive measures

Genetics is an important determinant in the development of a cancerous tumour. Nonetheless, we are not devoid of ways to limit the risk factors of cancer. Several simple measures can have a positive impact:

  • quit smoking;
  • exercise regularly;
  • eat healthy (your diet should include fruits, vegetables, foods rich in fibre, but low in salt and fat);
  • limit your consumption of red meat;
  • limit your consumption of alcohol to the maximum daily recommended quantity (10 glasses per week for women, 15 for men);
  • maintain a healthy weight;
  • avoid sun exposure;
  • visit your doctor regularly and do the recommended screening tests (mammogram, colonoscopy, rectal examination, etc.);

Choosing a healthy lifestyle doesn’t guarantee that you won’t develop cancer, but it can’t hurt! Part of the solution is to make good choices at the right time. All the more reason to act right away!

Here are a few tips if you are affected by cancer

  • Get as much information as possible.
  • Be completely open with the medical team.
  • Apply the tips given to you by health professionals.
  • Use the resources that are at your disposal.
  • Accept the help that is offered to you.

Beating cancer is a big challenge that has repercussions on all aspects of your life. It is important to remember that it’s possible to get through it and that there are several resources to help you do this. Cancer is frightening, it’s true, but it’s less so when you have good support. With this in mind, it is important to know that you can always count on your pharmacist concerning questions about health, and especially, medication.

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Dealing with cancer

The word “cancer” frightens us and raises a lot of eyebrows. A cancer diagnosis is upsetting for the person affected by it and for his/her loved ones. The fight for life that ensues is marked by hurdles as well as victories. Having a better understanding of this new reality can make it easier to deal with.
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