Helping Yourself Through Cancer Treatment

The following post is written by Robin Maggio, oncology social worker with Woman’s Hospital.

Reminding yourself that you control the cancer and the cancer does not control you is a big step in the road toward cancer recovery. And developing a plan for how to prepare for your cancer treatment is a great way to help yourself.

The first thing to be sure of before you start your cancer treatment is that you are physically ready for chemotherapy or radiation. You need to give your body enough time to itself after surgery so that the treatment will not have too many damaging side effects.

Your body is not going to be 100 percent healed when it starts therapy, but we want it in its best physical condition before it starts the treatment. A sure fire way to make sure of that is to start your treatment on schedule and not rush your body.

While physical healing is important before starting treatment, you also need to consider where your support and help is going to come from. If a patient lives by herself, we advice that she looks into getting outside support for a day or two during chemotherapy or stay with a family member for the first few days of treatment in case any problems arise.

Patients should also prepare their homes by performing any everyday chores that they might not be able to do during the first days of treatment. We recommend patients stock their pantry and refrigerator, wash clothes and change their bed sheets before they go in for their first treatment session.

Doing all the things, no matter how small or minute they may sound, can help prepare a patient physically and mentally for treatment.

When they go in for chemotherapy or radiation, they don’t have any control over how their body reacts to the chemicals we put inside them. So anything they can do around the treatment that they can feel in control of helps them feel more like, “This is my life. These are the things I’m doing. This is how I’m helping myself.”


I’m the Living with Cancer blog editor. My name is Connie and I work in Woman’s Marketing Department. Follow this blog and our posts will arrive in your email.

We are always looking for stories related to your cancer journey. If cancer has touched your life and you would like to write about your story, let me know. Email me at

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