The Burzynski Clinic recognizes that receiving a cancer diagnosis is scary. Regardless of the type or stage, people are concerned about their future. The first step in battling cancer is detection and diagnosis. It is important for people to understand exactly what they are dealing with. This also affects how the doctor will approach treatment. There are many different forms of cancer, and they affect everyone slightly differently. Once the doctor has performed the necessary tests and taken a thorough medical history, they will develop a treatment plan.
Treatment plans vary from person to person. Some people undergo multiple types of treatment in order to most effectively combat their cancer. Depending on the type, it will affect how the person prepares. Patients should bring all relevant medical documents with them to their appointment including insurance cards, test results, scans, charts, and anything else they have. This can help the doctor when determining treatment. It is important that patients ask the appropriate questions and have an understanding of what to expect. They should discuss potential side effects with the physician so that they can plan accordingly. Common cancer treatments include:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy uses specific drugs to target and destroy cancer cells. There are more than 100 different drugs available and they are often used in combination with each other for a more comprehensive approach. Different drugs work in different ways. The Burzynski Clinic notes that chemotherapy works throughout the entire body as opposed to in just one specific area. While it can cure some types of cancer, it is also used to slow the growth of tumors, keep cells from spreading, and kill cells that have already spread. It is multifunctional. Sometimes chemotherapy is the only treatment that a patient receives, but generally it is combined with surgery and/or radiation.
- Radiation: This form of treatment uses high-energy particles or waves to provide more targeted cancer treatment. It is focused on specific tumors or cells. Patients may undergo radiation at any point during their treatment. Sometimes it is used to shrink tumors before surgery and other times to destroy any remaining cells after surgery.
- Surgery: The goal of surgery is to remove all or as much of the tumor as possible. Once the tumor is removed, chemotherapy or radiation is often used to destroy any cells still present in the body. This can help to reduce the chances of the cancer recurring. Sometimes the tumor is deemed inoperable depending on its location and how it is impacting the body.
- Targeted Therapy: Targeted therapies interact with cancer in a different way. They are geared toward the molecular or cellular functions. They can help to stop cells from growing and tumors from developing new blood vessels. While chemotherapy and radiation can cause damage to healthy cells, targeted therapies do not affect them. They only interfere with the function of cancerous cells.
In order to better prepare, the Burzynski Clinic encourages patients to educate themselves about the type of treatment that they will receive. They should talk to their doctor, surgeon, and also other patients. Their physician can also provide them with valuable resources and reading materials to learn more.
Aside from understanding how each treatment works, there are other ways that people can prepare themselves.
1. Bring a friend or family member. When going to a treatment center like the Burzynski Clinic, bring someone else along. The patient already has a lot on their mind and it can help to have someone else listening and asking questions. They can not only provide support, but also help recall what was said. Write down any questions or concerns ahead of time so as not to forget.
2. Prepare meals ahead of time. It is hard to predict exactly what side effects a person may have from treatment. To make things easier during treatment and recovery, stock the freezer full of already prepared options. This way, should the person feel tired, weak, or just not up to cooking, they can simply reheat something that is already made. This is also a good option for families in order to help make feeding everyone easier.
Also talk to the doctor about what foods they recommend. They may have suggestions about certain foods that will help to ease side effects, boost energy, or support overall health. It is important to keep the body well fueled and as strong as possible. The doctor may recommend increasing the amount of certain foods or nutrients before or after treatment. Consulting a dietitian may also help.
3. Arrange for help. It is important to allow the body time to rest and recover during treatment. Depending on the specific procedure, the person may have restrictions on what they can do. Or, they may experience side effects that leave them feeling less than their best. Arrange for help ahead of time. Friends and family are generally more than willing to pitch in. They can help with tasks such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, running errands, watching children, and more. Speak up and accept help when necessary. Do not try to overdo it and get rundown.
The more organized and informed the patient is, the more it can help to reduce their anxiety. They will naturally have a certain level of nervousness, but knowing that they are in control of certain things can prove beneficial. Knowing what to expect along each step of the way can allow them to make necessary preparations to make treatment and recovery run more smoothly. The Burzynski Clinic works closely with patients to make sure they are fully informed and answers any questions or concerns they may have throughout the entire process.