Cancer FAQ: Patients Describe Navigating Life with Cancer

Cancer FAQ: Patients & Navigating Life with Cancer

There are so many questions for both patients and caregivers outside of cancer medical treatment. Some of the most pressing topics and the most popular advice shared by our The Patient Story community include:

  • How do we break the news of the cancer diagnosis to our loved ones? Especially to my kids?
  • Do I need to self-advocate as patient and caregiver in the medical decisions?
  • What’s the best way to deal with hair loss? What’s the difference between human-hair and synthetic-hair wigs?
  • Can we get pregnant after cancer treatment?

You can find all of our cancer patient and survivor stories here.


Dealing with a Cancer Diagnosis

Is Frequent Diarrhea a Sign of Cancer?

Diarrhea is an unpleasant condition that can be mild and easy to treat, but in rare instances, it can be a sign of cancer. It's also a common side effect for many cancer treatments. ...

Shared Treatment Decision Making | Dr. Mark Lewis

Mark Lewis, MD, is not just an oncologist, he's a cancer survivor, himself. This gives him a unique perspective as both physician and patient. Hear more about his thoughts on second opinions and importance of self-advocacy. ...

Shared Treatment Decision Making | Dr. Babis Andreadis

Dr. Babis Andreadis of UCSF shares his approach with patients, the importance of patient self-advocacy, whether to ask for a second opinion, and more on shared treatment decision-making. ...

Clinical Trials in Cancer

If you want to look into newer treatment options, it can be hard to know where to start. The FDA has several different approval processes. Here’s a guide for you to help you know what questions you can ask your doctor. ...

Cancer Patient Advocate

Read advice from real cancer survivors about how to advocate for yourself during your cancer treatment. ...

What Does Cancer Feel Like?

Hear from cancer patients in their own words about what cancer felt like - from diagnosis to treatment to recovery. ...

Reacting to a Cancer Diagnosis

It’s cancer. How should you be feeling? That’s a complex question without a single answer. Hear from real cancer survivors about how they reacted to their diagnoses. ...

Support During Cancer

What to Say to Someone With Cancer | The Patient Story

There’s no clear way to know what is best to say to someone with cancer, but there are some basic guidelines to help make your words and actions matter. Hear what helped and what didn’t from the patients themselves. ...

How To Tell Your Family and Friends You Have Cancer

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer and are unsure how to go about telling your friends and family, read stories from real cancer survivors who share their experiences on how they broke the news. ...

Gifts for Cancer Patients | The Patient Story

Gifts can be a great way to show your support for a loved one with cancer, but it can be tough to know what to give. Here are gift ideas from real-life cancer survivors - from physical gifts to volunteering your time. ...

How to Talk to Kids About Cancer

Hear how patients facing cancer navigated diagnosis and treatment while balancing their role as a parent. Hear their advice from how to talk to your kids about cancer to when to ask for help with childcare. ...

How to Help Someone with Cancer | The Patient Story

Read 10 acts of service and emotional support to help a loved one who's been diagnosed with cancer. These are suggestions from real former cancer patients who share what was most helpful for them. ...

Inspirational Quotes From Cancer Survivors

Finding power through the words of other patients can make a world of difference when you're going through cancer treatment. Reader quotes about diagnosis, hair loss, survivorship, and more. ...

For Caregivers

My Spouse Was Diagnosed With Cancer | The Patient Story

Marriage is wonderful, but a cancer diagnosis can create a disconnect for some couples. Here are three things to keep in mind in order to keep your relationship healthy after a diagnosis. ...

How to Help Someone with Cancer | The Patient Story

Read 10 acts of service and emotional support to help a loved one who's been diagnosed with cancer. These are suggestions from real former cancer patients who share what was most helpful for them. ...

General Info by Cancer

What is Leukemia? What is Lymphoma?

Leukemia is a cancer of the white blood cells. Lymphoma affects lymphocytes–a type of white blood cell. What are the similarities and differences of leukemia and lymphoma? How are they diagnosed? How are they treated? ...

What is Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia?

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia affects 15,000 new patients in the US alone each year. Hear from a leukemia expert about what CLL is, how its diagnosed, and the most important thing you can do during your treatment. ...

Multiple Myeloma & Treatment Options

Multiple myeloma is a rare form of cancer that occurs in the plasma cells. Read real experts talk about what myeloma is, its diagnosis and treatment options including new CAR-T cell therapy, proteasome inhibitors and more. ...
what is myelofibrosis

What is myelofibrosis?

Myelofibrosis is an uncommon bone marrow cancer that affects blood cell production. Learn more about this disease. ...

Side Effects of Cancer Treatment

Cancer Treatment Side Effects: Chemotherapy, Radiation, Surgery

Cancer treatments save lives, but they also come with side effects. Hear straight from patients who’ve been treated for cancer - what they experienced and what helped them get through it. ...

Hair Loss and Regrowth After Chemotherapy

Hear how cancer patients dealt with hair loss after chemotherapy and what some of them used to help growth after that loss. ...
Man sleeping on a laptop

Chemo Brain: What It Is and How To Cope

Read how cancer patients, caregivers, and coworkers can cope with chemo brain during cancer treatment ...

Taxol, Hair Loss & The Inevitable New ‘Do

Why does losing one’s hair cause a waterfall of tears? Read the deeply personal stories of cancer survivors' hair loss and regrowth. ...
A woman with a radiation mask on

Radiation Burns: How to Cope With Radiation Burns

Read patient testimonies and advice about managing burns from radiation therapy. ...

Nausea and Vomiting: Managing Chemo Nausea

Read patient testimonies and advice about managing nausea and vomiting during chemo. ...

Newer Cancer Treatments

Stem Cell Transplant for Cancer

Bone marrow and stem cell transplants, also called BMT and SCT, are sometimes part of treatment used against blood cancers including multiple myeloma, lymphoma (non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin), and leukemia. ...

Immunotherapy | Cancer Treatment FAQ and Patient Stories

Your immune system fights infections and diseases in your body. Immunotherapy is a kind of biological therapy or treatment that uses your immune system to fight cancer. Immunotherapy is still relatively new which makes its success a bit hard to predict. It's also focused on some of the more common cancers. ...

Targeted Therapy | Cancer FAQ, Patient Stories

Targeted therapy is a type of cancer treatment also known as precision medicine and molecularly-targeted drugs/therapies. There's been growing focus on targeted therapy as a major part of precision medicine, which diagnoses and treats individuals based largely on their genes and proteins. It can also be used to prevent disease. ...

Hormone Therapy for Cancer

Hormone therapy is also known as hormonal therapy, hormone treatment, or endocrine therapy. It is used to either slow or stop the growth of cancers that grow using hormones. ...

Cancer Surgery

One of the most common ways of locally treating cancer, in particular solid tumors, is through surgery. Surgeons, medical doctors, are trained to remove cancer from you body during operations. ...
brachytherapy

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy, also known as radiotherapy, uses high doses of radiation to destroy cancer cells and to shrink tumors. Find answers to popular radiation therapy questions and experiences of radiation therapy shared by The Patient Story community. ...

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy or chemo is one of the most common types of cancer treatments that uses drugs to destroy cancer cells. Find answers to popular chemotherapy questions and experiences of chemotherapy shared by The Patient Story community. ...

Newest CLL Treatments: Targeted Therapy Drugs

Treatment of Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia is moving towards targeted agents. Chemo and transplants are becoming less common. Hear about the newest treatments from real experts. ...

Health Literacy

October is Health Literacy Awareness. Health literacy is when the information and health services you need align with your ability to process, understand, and use that information and those services. Why does it matter? ...

Genetic Testing For Cancer

Read real genetic counselors and patients explain how genetic testing works, how it affects treatment and outcomes, and other important information to know. ...

Family and Parenting

How to Talk to Kids About Cancer

Hear how patients facing cancer navigated diagnosis and treatment while balancing their role as a parent. Hear their advice from how to talk to your kids about cancer to when to ask for help with childcare. ...

Fertility and Pregnancy After Cancer Treatment

Hear how cancer patients took steps to increase their chances of fertility and pregnancy after undergoing chemotherapy or other cancer treatments. ...

Egg Retrieval, Egg Freezing Before Chemotherapy & Cancer Treatment

Explore the egg harvesting, retrieval and freezing journey of a cancer patient who journals her daily schedule and the entire process. ...

Fertility After Cancer Diagnosis, Egg Retrieval & Egg Freezing

From egg harvesting to retrieval, making the decision between freezing eggs or embryos, the process of giving herself shots daily, paying for the procedures, and the paperwork that brought up so many unanticipated questions, Kimberly shares every part of this intimate journey. ...

Finances and Work

What Benefits are Available for Cancer Patients?

Find out what type of benefits cancer patients are entitled to, how to apply for them and some extra ways to cover your medical expenses. ...

Medicaid Updates and Cancer

Medicaid is a federal and state-run program that assists its patients with healthcare costs. Read how updates to the program in many states might make it easier to receive Medicaid coverage for your cancer. ...

Working During Cancer Treatment

Whether you continue working or take time off during treatment, there are many questions new cancer patients face when it comes to their job. Here's what survivors had to say about dealing with work during chemo, radiation, and more. ...

How Does Medicare Cover Cancer?

Cancer affects people of all ages. What can Medicare do for older cancer patients? How is Medicare changing in 2020? Guest writer Danielle K Roberts shares her expertise. ...

Mental Health and Support

Leaving the Hospital: Emotions and Support

Leaving the hospital after a surgery or course of treatment can evoke a variety of emotions. Hear from real cancer patients about how they were feeling when they went home and the support that’s available when you leave the hospital. ...

Coping With Scanxiety: Advice From Cancer Patients

Scanxiety is the you have about any scans that will update you on your current status as a cancer patient or survivor. Most patients report feeling this particular kind of anxiety at least once. Find out how real cancer patients and survivors cope with scanxiety. ...

Health and Wellness

Chemo Diet: Eating Healthy During Cancer Treatment | The Patient Story

It can be hard to stay healthy and in balance when you're going through chemotherapy. Here are some ways you can optimize your eating habits to alleviate some common chemotherapy side effects. ...

CBD Oil for Cancer & Treatment Side Effects

Unlike THC, CBD does not make a person feel “high.” Read on to learn more about CBD, its potential uses for cancer patients, and tips on finding the right product. ...

Yoga and Cancer, Meditation for Cancer

Wondering how a yoga or meditation practice can help in cancer treatment? Read the benefits of starting a practice, both for your mental and physical health, and get tips on how to start. ...

Chef Ryan Scott’s Cancer Story

Chef Ryan Scott’s Cancer Story You may have seen him compete on Top Chef or on network TV morning shows like The Today Show, but in this special clip, Chef Ryan Scott does more than share a recipe. He shares his own personal colon cancer story, describing how he was just a kid when he ...

Should I Start Using Cannabis as Part of My Cancer Treatment Plan?

Find out if using cannabis as a way to manage cancer symptoms is a good option for you and which methods of ingestion are best. ...

Other Resources

Top Cancer Blogs

Sometimes the content we need is to read journals from patients and caregivers, themselves. Here’s a list of wonderful blogs by cancer type curated by The Patient Story. ...

Genetic Testing For Cancer

Read real genetic counselors and patients explain how genetic testing works, how it affects treatment and outcomes, and other important information to know. ...

Cancer Organizations

Choose from over 40 cancer organizations and nonprofits for any cancer type and location Find where to get help for financial, housing, transportation and more. ...

Health Literacy

October is Health Literacy Awareness. Health literacy is when the information and health services you need align with your ability to process, understand, and use that information and those services. Why does it matter? ...

Hereditary Cancer: Is Cancer Hereditary?

Read information and FAQs about hereditary cancers. ...