6 Things To Do To Improve Your Cancer Care

Cancer is a devastating disease that impacts millions of people worldwide each year. Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be extremely difficult, both for the patient and their loved ones. While cancer treatment has improved dramatically over the past several decades, undergoing therapy can still be an arduous process.

Fortunately, there are many things cancer patients can do to help improve their care and make their treatment journey a bit easier. 

Here are six tips for improving cancer care during this challenging time:

1. Find the Right Oncology Team

Choosing the right oncologist, cancer treatment center, and support staff is one of the most important decisions after diagnosis. Find doctors who specialize in your specific cancer type and research their credentials and patient satisfaction rates. Look for a center that provides comprehensive, coordinated care with access to clinical trials. Meet with the oncology team to make sure you feel comfortable asking questions and voicing concerns. 

When interviewing potential oncologists, come prepared with a list of questions about their experience treating your type of cancer and take notes regarding their bedside manner, communication style, availability for questions, and credentials. Ensure you will have access to cutting-edge treatment options like immunotherapy or gene testing to help guide targeted therapy. Choose a compassionate doctor who listens to your priorities and helps you feel empowered in your care.

2. Seek Support Services

A variety of free support services are available to assist cancer patients and their families in coping with emotional, practical, and financial challenges. Counseling, for instance, provides a safe space to process difficult emotions, while support groups offer a platform to connect with others going through similar experiences. Nonprofit organizations may also provide assistance with treatment-related travel, lodging, and other expenses.

If you are dealing with certain types of cancer like mesothelioma, there are specific resources like www.mesotheliomahope.com that offer specialized information and assistance. The website provides comprehensive insights, expert opinions, and guidance tailored for mesothelioma patients and their caregivers.

Ask your oncology team about the available support services particular to your disease and diagnosis. These services could be a great help to ease your journey throughout your cancer treatment.

3. Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle

Living a healthy lifestyle during cancer treatment helps patients feel better, maintain strength to undergo therapies, and potentially improve outcomes. Eat nutritious anti-inflammatory foods, drink lots of water, exercise regularly if possible, and get 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

Additionally, avoid tobacco, excessive alcohol, and other unhealthy habits. Making positive lifestyle choices empowers patients during treatment. 

For a customized diet, consult with a nutritionist who can provide recommendations based on your treatment regimen. They will guide you to focus on getting adequate protein, healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Opt for light exercise like walking, swimming, or stretching to keep the body strong. These exercises reduce stress through breathing and visualization. Don’t forget to pamper yourself with relaxing activities, as taking care of self-care promotes healing.

4. Communicate with Your Care Team

Open, honest communication with your oncology team is key to effective treatment. It’s important to inform your doctors about any side effects or symptoms you experience so they can provide relief and adjust treatment as needed. Bringing a list of questions to appointments can ensure you get the information you need. Don’t hesitate to share any emotional struggles you’re experiencing, as oncology social workers are available to provide counseling. Good communication is the cornerstone of receiving the care you need.

Building trust with your care team takes time. Be patient but persistent if concerns are not adequately addressed. Provide frequent updates on side effects, pain levels, and emotional health. Email non-urgent questions to doctors and nurses so they have time to provide thoughtful responses. If you are not satisfied with the communication, consider a second opinion or change providers. You have a right to have all your needs addressed.

5. Stay Hopeful

Living with cancer is extremely difficult, but maintaining hope and a positive attitude may help some patients cope better and feel more empowered. Joining a support group can help boost optimism as you see others successfully navigating treatment. Focusing on things you can control versus those you can’t is also useful. Remind yourself this is temporary, you are strong, and there are better days ahead. 

When you feel discouraged, reflect on the progress made and goals accomplished so far. Celebrate small wins like finishing a round of treatment or getting a good test result. Spend time visualizing yourself in good health in the future. Set meaningful goals to keep you feeling positive and motivated each day, even if they are small, like taking a short walk or reading an uplifting book. Surround yourself with encouraging, optimistic friends and family to lift your spirits. Keeping hope alive is a conscious, daily choice – it takes work but pays off in the long run.

6. Connect with Loved Ones

Receiving abundant love and support from family and friends is crucial for cancer patients. Cancer can feel very isolating, so maintaining close relationships provides needed comfort. Make time each day to connect with loved ones, whether in person, on the phone, or video chat. Let them know specific ways they can help, like providing meals, driving to appointments, or just being there to listen. The social, emotional, and even financial support of loved ones makes a major difference.

Also, consider reaching out to loved ones outside of your immediate family, such as extended relatives, neighbors, co-workers, and church members. A wide support network is invaluable during this challenging time. Don’t be afraid to ask for and accept help. Keep a list of practical tasks others could take on, like mowing the lawn, caring for pets, running errands, etc. Delegate tasks rather than trying to do everything yourself.


A cancer diagnosis turns a person’s world upside down. While treatment can be grueling, there are many ways patients can help improve their cancer care experience. Connecting with loved ones, finding the right oncology team, learning about treatment options, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, utilizing support services, advocating for needs, and staying hopeful are all ways to take an active role.

With determination and support, cancer patients can navigate this difficult time as effectively as possible. While the road is challenging, there are always things you can do to help guide your care in a positive direction. Stay strong and be your own best advocate.