NCCN Guidelines for Patients® | Esophageal Cancer - page 83

NCCN Guidelines for Patients
: Esophageal Cancer
Version 1.2013
Part 7: Accepting a treatment plan
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also feel better by exercising, talking with loved ones, or relaxing. Your
treatment team has information to help you.
Having cancer may cause you to feel helpless, fearful, alone, or overwhelmed.
There are ways to manage this stress. At your cancer center, cancer navigators,
social workers, and other experts can help. There may also be helpful
community resources, such as support groups and wellness centers.
Some people blame themselves for getting cancer. However, what causes
esophageal cancer is unknown. Smoking does increase the chances of getting
esophageal cancer, but even people who don’t smoke get cancer. Even if you
are a smoker, you don’t deserve cancer. Instead of blaming yourself, try to focus
on getting better. Undergoing cancer treatment can be hard. You’ll have a lot to
deal with without the blame.
After treatment, some people dislike their looks because of side effects.
Common concerns are hair loss from chemotherapy and scars from surgery. It
can be difficult to adapt to these changes. You may also be concerned with what
your partner thinks. Partners may stop showing their love because they are
unsure of what to do. They may also think of themselves as more of a caregiver
than a partner during treatment. Sharing what you need and want can help your
partner and yourself.
Financial stress is common. You may be unemployed or miss work during
treatment. You may have too little or no health insurance. Talk with your
treatment team about work, insurance, or money problems. They will include
information in the treatment plan to help you control your finances.
Survivorship care
Cancer survivorship begins on the day you learn of having esophageal cancer.
For many survivors, the end of active treatment signals a time of celebration
but also of great anxiety. This is a very normal response. You may need support
to address issues that arise from not having regular visits with your treatment
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