Creating a Plan After a Cancer Diagnosis  

Planning is essential for any major life experience: going to college, buying a house, having a baby. Getting details in order, schedules on track and options sorted can help the best decisions be made, with the best outcomes.

The same can be said for unfortunate situations such as a cancer diagnosis. A cancer care plan is an often-overlooked yet highly essential component of a person’s journey through and beyond cancer. From the day a diagnosis is delivered to the moment the news of remission comes, being prepared and informed through a cancer care plan can make each step a bit easier.

What is the best way to make a cancer care plan? It’s important to proactively consider the different areas of your life that will be changed by your diagnosis, and then explore the options and opportunities that exist within each to make those changes more manageable. A typical plan could include:

Treatment:
Among the most important aspects of a cancer care plan is treatment. This portion of the strategy should include research about healthcare facilities, physicians and different treatments available. Patients should understand the ins and outs of each treatment, including the costs, side effects and recovery times.

Finances:
A cancer care plan should address the patient’s overall financial picture, including estimated costs for treatments, co-pays, and other medical expenses. This aspect of the plan should also include resources for financial assistance for cancer patients.

Caregiving:
Cancer can interrupt daily responsibilities, such as caring for children or elderly parents. A cancer care plan can address how those obligations will be handled during a patient’s treatment and recovery, including rotating schedules of family and friends willing to pitch in and a rundown of the daily responsibilities related to each caregiving relationship.

Work/Life Balance:
If patients are employed at the time of their diagnosis, they will likely need to take a leave or alter their schedule. A cancer care plan should outline how that shift will be addressed, such as a communication plan for managing conversations with an employer and colleagues, and options for covering reduced income.

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