A throat cancer diagnosis can take an emotional and physical toll. While cancer treatment can help you combat the disease, you might struggle with its various symptoms, such as vocal changes, swallowing difficulties, headaches, throat pain, and neck lumps.
Yet, a throat cancer diagnosis isn’t a death sentence, as it has a high survival rate if caught early enough. Plus, there are tactics and treatments you can embrace that can ease any pain or discomfort. Here are five effective ways to cope with throat cancer.
- Stop Smoking
While not everyone diagnosed with throat cancer will smoke, the habit can increase a person’s risk. What’s more, smoking can reduce a treatment’s effectiveness, slow down healing following surgery, and increase the likelihood of developing another cancer in the future.
If you are a smoker, you must quit as soon as possible. As quitting smoking often isn’t easy, talk to your doctor about possible options, such as nicotine replacement options, medications, and counseling.
- Care for Your Mental and Physical Health
Your mental and physical health must become your main priority when undertaking a throat cancer treatment, such as radiation, surgery, chemotherapy, or targeted therapy drugs.
Therefore, you must:
- Avoid stress
- Go for a walk outdoors
- Exercise when possible
- Enjoy plenty of sleep each night
- Follow a healthy diet
- Embrace relaxing activities, such as listening to music
- Eating and Drinking Support
If you struggle with eating and drinking due to throat cancer, you might want to avoid food and drinks at all costs. However, this can lead to malnutrition and dehydration, which can impair your recovery.
Depending on your needs, a doctor may recommend either a nasogastric or gastric tube during treatment and recovery. If you can eat, you could make the experience easier with a soft diet. Plus, you can thicken liquids using SimplyThick food thickener to prevent aspirating them.
- Seek Emotional Support
You’re bound to experience a wide range of emotions following a throat cancer diagnosis, during treatment, or when recovering. Navigate the negative feelings by confiding in a trusted family member, friend, or partner, who can listen to your fears or concerns and lift your mood.
Also, it might help to join a support group to connect with people living with throat cancer. Reach out to the following organizations for more information:
- American Cancer Society (ACS)
- Support for People with Oral, Head and Neck Cancer
- The Oral Cancer Foundation
- Research the Disease
Feel in control of your future and health by learning as much as possible about throat cancer. It will ensure you ask the right questions at your next doctor’s appointment, which can help you make informed decisions on treatments, coping strategies, and your general health. Plus, request further information sources from your doctor to learn as many facts on the disease as possible.
A throat cancer diagnosis is bound to feel overwhelming at times. However, the right coping strategies, knowledge, and emotional support could help you navigate this difficult time and increase your likelihood of recovery.