An invitation to reflect: What would you tell yourself at diagnosis?

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Hi everyone,

As we approach the end of another year, it can be helpful to slow down and reflect. In the spirit of reflection, we’d like to invite you to share your thoughts on what advice you would give to yourself if you could turn back time to the moment of your (or your loved ones) diagnosis.  

If you could go back and speak to yourself at the time of diagnosis:

  • What words of comfort, advice or encouragement would you offer?
  • What lessons have you learnt that you wish you knew from the start?
  • What wisdom or guidance would have made a difference in your initial journey with cancer?

We’d love to hear from you. Your shared experience and insights can offer invaluable support and encouragement to those who might be at the beginning of their own paths towards healing and understanding.

Best wishes,

  • When you are first diagnosed with cancer you are plunged into a whole new world with very little understanding of it. The doctors start throwing around words you have never heard of and you sit there wondering what questions to ask as it is all so overwhelming. My advice would be to take a notebook  and someone along with you as it is hard to recall so much info in a stressful situation. Jot down as much as you can so you can reflect back on what has been said. Don't be afraid to ask questions especially the big one 'what is my prognosis?" You can spend hours of worry otherwise that might not be necessary.

    Understand that your treatment may be a long journey which can be difficult but at the end there is definitely light at the end of the tunnel. Keep positive and distract yourself as much as possible while waiting for test results as nothing is gained by worrying about it. Hard to do but distraction definitely helps.



  • Thank you for sharing that advice and wisdom,  

    Best wishes,

    Macmillan's Online Community Team

  • I half expected my diagnosis, and the colonoscopy confirmed everything. At the first collecterol meeting, the nurse took any notes, helping me concentrate on what was being said. I don't think anything prepares you for the rollercoaster that follows! I did catch a moment late one evening when taking the dog out. Somehow the question came up, in the whirling brain,  would I have done my life any different? In most things I said, no. Yes I could have done more, but I did my best. This was a key moment that helped me through the next year of treatment. Even now at bad times. 

    My main huge regret was regarding Covid, at the very beginning. I somehow caught it, despite very suddenly deciding at school I really didn't want to be there, 2 months after chemo stopped. I have since had long covid (yes, nearly 4 years now!) and this is my limiting factor. I'd rather be on chemo again than the long covid. 

    But regarding cancer, I finally accepted it as my lot, and got on with life as much as I could. Seems very easy to say, but it helped. I don't regard that I fought, as what are you really fighting? I personally don't like the warrior phrase. Just do your best. That is all you, everyone and life can expect of you.