Fear is often the first and highest hurdle standing in the way of healing.
When somebody first receives a cancer diagnosis, they begin living through a mental and emotional blackout. Hampered by fear, helplessness, and hopelessness, they work through some very difficult decisions – usually with little information. All too often, someone is told they’ve got cancer, then less than a week later, they’re receiving their first dose of chemo. It’s okay to make quick decisions with confidence, rather than from a place of fear or desperation. But I’ve seen too many people fall into the latter category. It’s hard to watch.
So today, I’m sharing a framework to help people determine which healing approaches might provide the most benefit.
Step 1: Breathe.
Remember, cancer usually takes years to develop to the point where it can be detected. The moment someone is diagnosed, enormous pressure is placed on them to make an immediate decision. Why not give yourself time to process the situation and find your best way forward?
Of course, if you decide not to rush into treatment, people may think you’re crazy. They’ll assume you’re wasting precious time. Gently remind them you are gathering important information and carefully weighing possibilities. These things will make your subsequent journey much easier and much, much more effective. It’s time well spent.
In some cases, immediate medical intervention is necessary to save a life. For the majority of cancer patients, this is not the situation. Listen to your doctor, but also trust your intuition.
Step 2: Define Success.
What does success look like to you?
What do you want to get out of treatment? What quality of life do you desire?
As you answer these questions, don’t concern yourself with expectations or logistics. Listen to your heart. The idea here is to set your goals. Figuring out the exact “what, where, and how” comes later.
Step 3: Review Conventional Medical Options
I suggest reviewing conventional options first- even if you may end up choosing alternative medicine- because it’s usually easiest to find solid clinical data on conventional treatments. This makes conventional options the easiest to evaluate.
Determine exactly what your medical doctor is proposing. Get specifics on the treatment plan, including at a minimum:
– any expected surgeries?
– any radiation proposed?
– the exact name of any drugs, and how they are administered
– the expected outcome of treatment
– the expected out-of-pocket cost
Consider using this printable list of oncology visit questions.
Then, compare your definition of success (from Step 2 above) to the expected outcome of the medical treatment plan. How do you determine the expected outcome? Ask your oncologist? Okay, that’s a start, but […excuse me as I don my cynical hat…] we always need to recognize the potential for conflict of interest: your oncologist is likely getting paid a ton of money to sell you these treatments. Might that influence things? What do you think? Personally, any time I buy something unusual, over a couple hundred bucks, I’m researching the living hell out of it first. I’m not just basing my decision on what some salesman tells me. Cancer treatment plans- for a hundred reasons- fall into this category. And the oncologist is the salesman. Do your own research. Start by reviewing the prescribing information for any drug proposed. When you do, here’s what you’ll notice:
Some medical treatment plans have a demonstrated probability of success, whether it’s low (like 5%) or high (like 90%)…
Other treatments are scientifically proven to have zero statistical probability of providing what you would consider “success”. But oncologists often prescribe these treatments anyway. Why? Because it’s not their job to decide what the patient wants. In their minds, a treatment may be the only (therefore “the best”) treatment available for the problem, so they’re going to offer it to you. Maybe it’s all they’ve got.
As a scientist, cancer science reviewer, and a man of integrity, I find this practice outrageous and disturbing.
If a plan has a documented 100% failure rate, it’s just not an option. Period. It’s not a good option, and It’s not even a bad option. In my own brainstorming sessions, a plan with a documented 100% failure rate simply doesn’t get carried over onto the possibilities list. This is why we do our own homework…because frankly, doctors are prescribing scientifically proven failures every day.
As such, many cancer patients receive the illusion of help rather than actual help. This is a wake-up call for many people. It certainly was for me. If a conventional treatment plan doesn’t align with your goals, maybe it’s time to look elsewhere.
I think some patients agree to doomed plans out of fear, out of blind trust in the medical system, and because deep down they believe they don’t have any other choice. This is why free cancer education is a central component of my mission.
Now let’s get back to instances where the expected outcome of medical treatment is success, perhaps 35%, 50% or 85% of the time. What else should you do? Well, assuming this is the best plan you’ve found, and you’re committed to it: control what you can. Raise your personal odds of success as close to 100% as possible. How?
For that, I humbly yet highly recommend working with a coach. Which brings us to Step 4.
Step 4: Work With a Holistic Cancer Coach
What’s the point of having a cancer coach?
A coach can help you:
- evaluate and select a medical treatment plan
- increase the effectiveness of that plan
- minimize side-effects
- naturally strengthen your immune system
- keep a positive mindset
- work past any major doubts or fears
- manage stress
- heal on an energetic and spiritual level
- boost your body’s many natural defenses against cancer
- evaluate and select alternative or integrative treatments
- or best yet, avoid getting a cancer diagnosis in the first place!
It’s great to have a coach when you are:
- first diagnosed
- seeking practical information
- dealing with advanced or metastatic cancer
- seeking a more holistic approach to healing
- considering whether to avoid conventional treatment
- dealing with difficult side effects
- facing any major decision
For questions and comments, or to get started with a coach, give me a shout.
About me: I’m a career scientist, hobby musician, Reiki practitioner, and Certified Holistic Cancer Coach with BeatCancer.org. I started researching cancer years ago when my mother was diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
(This post is shared information and perspective, and is not medical advice!)