Next Steps After Your Diagnosis
Finding Information and Support
Your doctor gave you a diagnosis that could change your life. Every person is different, of course, and every person's disease or condition will affect them differently. But research shows that after getting a diagnosis, many people have some of the same reactions and needs.
Five Basic Steps
Step 1: Take the time you need. Do not rush important decisions about your health. In most cases, you will have time to carefully examine your options and decide what is best for you.
Step 2: Get the support you need. Look for support from family and friends, people who are going through the same thing you are, and those who have "been there." They can help you cope with your situation and make informed decisions.
Step 3: Talk with your doctor. Good communication with your doctor can help you feel more satisfied with the care you receive. Research shows it can even have a positive effect on things such as symptoms and pain. Getting a "second opinion" may help you feel more confident about your care.
Step 4: Seek out information. When learning about your health problem and its treatment, look for information that is based on a careful review of the latest scientific findings published in medical journals.
Step 5: Decide on a treatment plan. Work with your doctor to decide on a treatment plan that best meets your needs.
As you take each step, remember this: Research shows that patients who are more involved in their health care tend to get better results and be more satisfied.