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Get support from others You don’t have to face cancer alone. Your family and friends are there to support you, but they don’t always know what you’re going through. Speaking with a cancer survivor who has been through a similar experience can be both comforting and insightful. The Society’s support specialists, at 1 800 263-6750, can connect you with trained volunteers who understand what it’s like to live with cancer.

Do what you can to stay positive and make time for yourself Focus your energy on things that make you feel good and try to be with people who make you feel comfortable. Remind yourself that you can heal and notice improvements in your condition, even when they are small. When you need to rest, do so by turning off phones and asking not to be disturbed. Communicate with friends, family and acquaintances when you feel up to it and consider giving updates by e-mail or on a blog so that everyone can be updated at the same time.

Accept help

What we do

Your family, friends and acquaintances can be very supportive and are often happy to pitch in. Let them help by shopping for groceries, preparing meals, mowing the lawn, driving you to and from appointments, taking your kids to school and much more. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.

Thanks to the work of our volunteers and staff, and the generosity of our donors, the Canadian Cancer Society is leading the way in the fight against cancer. The Canadian Cancer Society: • funds research on all types of cancer • offers comprehensive and credible information on cancer, risk reduction and treatment • provides support for people living with cancer, family members and friends

Helpful Hints for the Newly Diagnosed

• advocates for healthy public policy

For information about cancer, to connect with our support services or to make a donation, please call toll-free 1 888 939-3333 or visit the Canadian Cancer Society's website at

Let's Make Cancer History 1 888 939-3333 |

This is general information developed by the Canadian Cancer Society. It is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified healthcare provider. The material in this publication may be copied or reproduced without permission; however, the following citation must be used: Helpful Hints for the Newly Diagnosed Canadian Cancer Society 2007. © Canadian Cancer Society 2007 | Printed July 2007 | 371600

Let's Make Cancer History 1 888 939-3333 |



A cancer diagnosis may make you feel overwhelmed, numb, frightened or angry. You may be overflowing with questions or your mind may feel blank. Everyone experiences different emotions. This is completely normal.

Get the information you need

Over the next weeks and months, you may need to deal with day-to-day issues, make tough decisions and cope with a range of emotions. This brochure can help you sort out some things to do and places to go, to make the experience a little easier.

The Canadian Cancer Society Cancer Information Service, at 1 888 939-3333, is a free and confidential service that you can call to get the answers you need. A cancer information specialist will answer your questions with up-to-date and reliable information about every type of cancer, help you form appropriate questions to ask your healthcare team and send you written information at no charge. If you prefer finding answers on your own, an information specialist can suggest credible sources of cancer information on the Internet.

Start an information file Use a notepad, tape recorder, personal digital assistant or a wireless handheld device to keep notes and help you stay organized. Information you may want to note include terms used by your healthcare team, answers to your questions and the phone numbers and addresses of your doctors. As well, keep a record of appointments, including the date, time, who you saw, what tests or treatments were done and next steps that are planned. And keep copies of all forms and reports. These notes and files will help you keep track of your own care. Store everything in a file or other common place at home.

Keep your receipts Add all receipts related to your medical expenses to your information file or keep them in another secure place. These receipts could be for procedures or medications and may be useful for income tax purposes.

Communicate your information needs Tell your doctor how much detail you want to hear. Some people want to know everything, whereas others want to know only the bare minimum of facts. Be clear about your wishes. To get the most out of your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask for an explanation if you don’t understand an answer. If you need to have a longer discussion, book an extended appointment with your doctor.

Connect with the Canadian Cancer Society Caring and helpful staff and volunteers at your local Canadian Cancer Society office can offer you relevant cancer information brochures and explain the local programs and services available in your community. As well, if you’re having trouble travelling to and from your cancer-related appointments, your local office may be able to arrange for a volunteer driver to help get you there and home.

Take someone with you Consider bringing a friend or family member to important meetings, procedures or treatments. That person can provide company and support, ask questions and help you keep track of information.

Don’t be shy about following up The healthcare system is complex and there are often many people involved in your care, so be prepared to wait. But, don’t be afraid to follow up – sometimes communication and follow-up may not happen automatically.


Let's Make Cancer History Let's Make Cancer History • offers comprehensive and credible information on cancer, risk reduction and treatment...

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