When people hear the term “cancer,” their first thought is “death sentence.” While having cancer certainly can mean the end of your life, you still have options, and in many cases, the outcome is not as bad as you’d expect.
Also, because cancer isn’t often diagnosed until it has grown to a very large size, it’s worth getting tested at the first sign or symptom that something might be wrong.
Is it too late to visit a cancer center for diagnosis? The answer: it depends on how long you’ve been suffering from cancer symptoms and how advanced they are. Here are 5 reasons to visit:
1. Your Current Treatment Is Not Working
The first reason to visit a cancer center is if your current treatment is not working. If you are undergoing chemotherapy, radiation, or any other therapy and it isn’t working as hoped, you need to act as soon as possible rather than waiting around for the problem to resolve itself.
2. Persistent and New Symptoms
In the case of cancer that has already been diagnosed, patients should contact their doctor if they experience any new symptoms (problems). Even if the signs do not seem serious, it is important to notify your care team so they can help you quickly.
For example, if you have already been tested with lung cancers but develop a bad cough that does not go away over time, you should contact your physician immediately to be evaluated for possible treatment changes or other therapies.
3. If You Don’t Feel Like Yourself
Symptoms of depression and fear can also be caused by a wide range of other medical conditions. If you’re experiencing any of these five symptoms, you should visit a cancer center right away:
- Lack of motivation
- Feelings of depression or apathy
- Difficulty with sleep: Not being able to fall or stay asleep at night and waking up too early in the morning, or oversleeping during the day
- Fatigue, even after adequate amounts of sleep
- A decreased appetite
4. You Want Another Opinion
If you suspect you have cancer, it is important to get a second opinion. A second opinion confirms or rules out your diagnosis and the stage of your cancer.
A “second opinion” means that another doctor checks the first doctor’s work. It helps ensure that you get the best care possible and receive the right treatment based on your specific health condition.
You should always think about getting a second opinion if:
- You have been diagnosed with cancer and would like more information about your diagnosis and treatment options.
- Your doctor does not have much experience treating patients with your type of cancer.
- You are considering an aggressive treatment such as surgery or chemotherapy and want to make sure this is the best option for you currently.
- It can be helpful to also get a second opinion when choosing between 2 types of standard treatments (for example, surgery vs. radiation).
5. Need Other Cancer-Related Services
Many cancer treatment centers offer a range of services to meet your needs, including:
- support groups
- nutrition counseling
- transportation assistance
- pain and symptom management
- palliative care (care meant to reduce symptoms, relieve stress, and improve quality of life)
- financial and insurance counseling.
If you or a loved one are battling cancer, you may find that the benefits of attending a well-regarded cancer center far outweigh the drawbacks.