Evelyn Wallace, Registered General Nurse and Clinical Manager of our Cancer Care team

10 tips to put you in control of cancer


22 April 2021

Evelyn Wallace

Written by Evelyn Wallace

Evelyn, a Registered General Nurse, is Clinical Manager of AXA Health’s Cancer Care team, where she is responsible for ensuring excellent customer service and continuing development of the team.

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Feeling overwhelmed by your cancer diagnosis? Can't focus on what comes next? Our team of dedicated cancer nurses have compiled these practical pointers.

1. Don’t see the doctor on your own - Ask a relative or friend to come with you to your specialist appointment. They can help you remember what was said and tell other family and friends what is happening as well as supporting you emotionally.

2. Write down questions - Do this before your appointment and take along a pen and paper so you can jot down the answers (doctors are used to this and won't mind). Ask about starting dates for scans, chemo or surgery, their duration, side effects and tests that may be done to see how the treatment is affecting the cancer.

3. Start a diary for your treatment plan - Get organised and mark off dates on a calendar to help you focus on getting through the chemotherapy treatment cycles. Planning can help make you feel in control, but it’s likely that you will also have to be flexible and take each day as it comes.

4. Stay positive - Easier said than done we know, but try and look at all the treatment options available, rather than focusing on any bad news.

5. Use visualisation techniques - Imagine cancer cells being destroyed as treatment begins. A trained therapist or psychologist can teach you or try a DVD or CD. Relaxation therapies such as yoga can be useful too.

6. Find survivors for support - Sharing your feelings and worries with others who have the same condition can be a support. Look for internet forums run by cancer charities or ask friends or family if they know anyone.

7. Keep a structure to your days - Don't retreat from the world, follow set routines to avoid focusing on the cancer all the time. 

8. Eat well - Follow a healthy diet and aim to eat small amounts regularly to give you energy and help your body fight the cancer. Your doctor or dietitian may give you more specific advice on what to eat or drink.

9. Sleep well - Your head may be filled with worry during this time and this could make sleeping difficult. Develop a bedtime routine to keep you relaxed and help your body get used to winding down at night. You'll find more tips and techniques to help you get a better night's sleep in our sleep hub.

10. Get moving - Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re faced with cancer, but it can be a boost to your mood and general wellbeing. Be sure to ask your doctor if you’re okay to do some light exercise during your treatment.

For more information, visit our cancer centre or contact our Ask the expert service if you have any questions.

Further reading

Coping with a cancer diagnosis – AXA Health

Tried and tested, these practical tips can really help you manage the day-to-day challenges.

How do I tell people I have cancer? – AXA Health

This can be a daunting part of the process, but it’s the perfect opportunity to reach out for the help and support you need.

5 cancer myths busted – AXA Health

Evelyn Wallace, Clinical Manager of our Cancer Care team, helps to sort the fact from the fiction.

Feeling overwhelmed? Here are 10 tips to put you in control of cancer – AXA Health

Some useful tips to empower you as you navigate the new (to you) cancer journey.

Top Cancer fighting foods - AXA Health

Find out what foods have a track record for protecting against cancer – and which can have the opposite effect.

Useful resources for help and support

Cancer Research UK

Macmillan Cancer Support

Cancer support UK

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