Dealing With Cancer, Yours and Others'

National Cancer Institute
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Cancer touches almost every person, whether it's the person themselves, their family or their friends. But more and more, treatments are coming out, and people are surviving and living long lives.

KBTX Medical Contributor Dr. Alan Xenakis from the Texas A&M Health Science Center was on Brazos Valley This Morning Tuesday to talk about dealing with cancer medically and mentally.

Tips provided by Doc X are listed below, and you can watch the video from Tuesday's interview.

You can also visit the website linked below for much more on cancer.

What is cancer?
Cancer is a term used for diseases in which normal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Cancer cells can spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems. Cancer is not just one disease but many diseases. There are more than 100 different types of cancer. Most cancers are named for the organ or type of cell in which they start

What are the main categories of Cancers?
The main categories of cancer include:

- Carcinoma - cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.

- Sarcoma - cancer that begins in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue.

- Leukemia - cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue such as the bone marrow and causes large numbers of abnormal blood cells to be produced and enter the blood.

- Lymphoma and myeloma - cancers that begin in the cells of the immune system.

- Central nervous system cancers - cancers that begin in the tissues of the brain and spinal cord.

An individual with the cancer is not the only one affected. Family members and friends are also influenced by changes in a loved one's health. What are tips to help family and friends cope with a loved one's diagnosis?
Feel free to ask the doctor questions if you accompany your loved one to his or her appointments. Write down questions so you don't forget them.

Be prepared for changes in your loved one's behavior and mood. Medications, discomforts, and stress can cause someone with cancer to become depressed or angry.

Encourage your loved one to be active and independent, as much as possible, to help him or her regain a sense of self-reliance and confidence.

Be realistic about your own needs. Be sure you are sleeping enough, eating properly, and taking some time off for yourself. It is hard to offer much help when you are exhausted.

Don't hesitate to ask other family members and friends for help. They will appreciate the opportunity.

Family members and friends of a person coping with cancer may also find themselves under a great deal of stress. How can they reduce their stress?
- Keep a positive attitude & accept events you can’t control.

- Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert feelings, beliefs, or opinions instead of becoming angry or combative

- Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when you are physically fit.

- Eat well-balanced meals.

- Rest and sleep. Your body needs time to recover from stressful events.

- Don't rely on alcohol or drugs to reduce stress.

- Consider joining a support group to share your experiences and learn from others. It may help to feel like you're not alone.

Should cancer patients and survivors get a flu shot?
Yes. People with cancer or a history of cancer should receive the seasonal flu shot, not the nasal spray vaccine. People who live with or care for cancer patients and survivors also should be vaccinated against seasonal flu. Additionally, CDC recommends that everyone aged six months and older get a 2010–2011 flu vaccine for the upcoming season.

What is the good news about cancer survivorship?
The good news – people are living longer after a cancer diagnosis. Nearly 12 million Americans are alive after being told they have cancer. Due to medical advances, people are living many years after a cancer diagnosis. About two-thirds of people with cancer are expected to live at least 5 years after diagnosis (2/3rds of cancers are preventable)

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