Making Time for Yourself

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is certainly scary. But for many people not knowing at all is better than hearing news they are not prepared to hear. As a result, there are many people who put off going to the doctor for necessary screenings and tests because they are terrified that the doctor will find something. In the end, of course, if they DO have cancer, what would have helped the most would have been early diagnosis and treatment. In fact, in the large majority of cases, cancer responds the best to treatment that happens in the earliest stages; which makes early diagnosis critical. And in some cancers like prostate cancer, early treatment can mean complete cure. However, if you take a highly curable cancer like prostate cancer and allow it to advance, you soon have an aggressive disease on your hands that has spread to other parts of the body and now requires equally aggressive treatment.

Making time for yourself means a lot of things including eating well, exercising, finding time to do things that bring you peace and joy. But it also means making the time for yourself that allows you to manage your own healthcare. As the new year closes in, it may be time to make the commitment to make the time for your healthcare including:

Scheduling a physical if you haven’t had one in some time. Most of us don’t forget to take our children to the doctors for a yearly physical. But ask most adults how long it’s been since they’ve been to the doctor for a checkup, and they will struggle with the answer. Schedule a physical that will assess your overall health and includes standard lab work.

Scheduling cancer screenings. For women, that means mammograms, breast ultrasounds, and a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer. For men, that means a prostate exam. And for both men and women that means a colonoscopy and skin cancer screening. All of these screenings are recommended for particular age groups so talk to your doctor about what is appropriate for you.

Follow up on any issues. If you’ve been struggling with a particular symptom or condition now is the time to take control. Consistent management of any health issue is crucial so make a commitment to stay on top of it this year and work with your doctor to formulate a plan.

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