What Happens After Diagnosis

When you or a loved one gets a cancer diagnosis, many thoughts, questions and feelings will be going through your mind. Our team is here to support you on every step of your journey.

Download Oncology New Patient Guide
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Tests Your Doctor May Order

In many cases, the first step after diagnosis is seeing a surgeon. During this appointment, the surgeon will examine you, ask lots of questions, and then tell you their initial impressions for treatment. Before you leave the surgeon’s office, you may be scheduled for an MRI, CT, PET scan, bone scan, and have appointments to see the medical oncologist and the radiation oncologist.

The Sentara Cancer Network functions as a team. We have you see all of the doctors that will be involved in your care and follow national guidelines for treating cancer to decide on the best treatment for you. After the tests and appointments have taken place, you will return to the surgeon’s office for final treatment recommendations.

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How To Tell Family and Friends

If you have recently been diagnosed, you will probably want to tell your trusted friends and family members fairly soon. What is the best way to share this personal information so that you can inform them and enlist their help and encouragement?

  • Pick an Opportune Moment
  • Aim for Honesty
  • Use Age-Appropriate Explanations
  • Set Boundaries
  • Consider Doing Online Updates
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Recognizing Signs of Anxiety and Stress

Anxiety (a feeling of worry or unease), fear, uncertainty, anger, and sadness are common feelings that patients and families sometimes have when coping with cancer. They are normal responses to the stress of cancer, especially when the cancer is first diagnosed.
Family members may have these feelings because they, too, are uncertain about the future or maybe even angry that their loved one has cancer.

If this happens, it often helps the patient and family to get help from a professional therapist or counselor. If you need help connecting to someone for support, talk to your Nurse Navigator or a member of your care team.

Nobody should face cancer alone.

Looking for additional information about community resources, support groups or financial support? Find this and more in the Support section of our site.

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