I'm afraid about receiving my first treatment - any advice?


Q: I'm afraid about receiving my first treatment--any advice? 

A: It's normal to be anxious about your first chemotherapy or radiation therapy treatment. It's likely you've never experienced this treatment before. You probably have heard other peoples' stories about these treatments. Remember, this is your unique experience.

Even if you're well-informed about possible side effects from your prechemotherapy or radiation therapy teaching, you don't know how you will react specifically. You are taking control of your situation by starting treatment. You are now on the road to getting rid of the cancer. This is a very positive step. Most patients, after being initially scared and anxious, feel fine after their first treatment session. Now you'll know what to anticipate with the next treatment. You will also better know the nurses caring for you.

Our purpose is to promote the health of your mind, body, and spirit as you journey through this treatment. Your nurses recognize that this first treatment is your most difficult. We give you extra time on this important day so we can answer all your questions and provide the emotional support you need. There isn't anything you can't ask us and there isn't any emotion that we haven't experienced with our patients and their families. As you move into active treatment, you'll feel a sense of accomplishment and gaining control. That also helps you get through the first session.
--Bernice Crook, RN, OCN

You can reduce your anxiety about starting treatment by taking an active role.

This content was last reviewed August 15, 2010 by Dr. Reshma L. Mahtani.
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