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60

NCCN Guidelines for Patients

®

Adolescents and Young Adults with Cancer, Version 1.2017

7

Living your life

What happens now that I have cancer?

Hanging out with friends. . .

Having a social life can be difficult while being treated

for cancer. Some of your relationships with friends

can grow stronger, while others may be challenged.

Take time to decide what is right for you when it

comes to your social life.

††

Tell your friends what they need to know.

Share whatever information will help friends

understand your new needs and limits. Let

them help you out if you are feeling sick or

down.

††

Keep your plans flexible.

It may be hard to

know how you’ll be feeling from one day to the

next. Let friends know that all plans are based

on how you’re feeling on any given day.

††

Be selective.

When your energy is limited,

it makes sense to spend it on events and

activities that you feel up to doing.

††

Expand your horizons.

Consider putting

stress-reducing activities into your social life.

Ask friends to join you for yoga class and

brunch instead of a night out.

††

Don’t be afraid to change your mind.

It’s

better to opt out of a planned activity than to

push yourself when you’re not feeling well.

††

Be aware of your risks.

If your treatment

plan includes drugs that suppress your

immune system, you’ll want to avoid large

group situations that can expose you to

germs. Be sure to check with your doctor on

when you may be able to participate in large

group activities.

††

Think before you drink or smoke.

Alcohol

and other drugs may interact with your cancer

treatment and cause serious side effects.

Be sure to talk to your treatment team about

whether—or how much—alcohol is safe for

you, and about the risks of other recreational

drugs. Keep your treatment team informed

of how much you are drinking, smoking, or

using.

Helping those around

you know what to do

Lori Hope’s

Help Me Live: 20

Things People with Cancer Want

You to Know

(Berkeley, CA:

Celestial Arts, 2011) is a terrific

resource for friends who aren’t

sure what to say—or do—to help.