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Prepare for you cancer results


Each year an estimate of around 300,000 people are told they have cancer. If you’re waiting for test results, there are ways to help prepare yourself. 

Call: Cancer Buddies or Can-Sir Malecare



“It’s always a good idea to ask when you can expect to get your test results and how you’ll get them. If you don’t hear anything for a few weeks you may wonder if your results have got lost. Check up, as occasionally letters can go astray.”

Preparing for the consultation

Write down all the questions you might like to ask during your consultation. “It’s very easy to forget what you wanted to ask, because you may have to absorb a lot of information in a short time,”.

Another useful tip is to record your consultation on a dictaphone, but check first with your GP or consultant if it is ok. Either way, you should be offered a record of the consultation.

It is also good to have someone with you and on hand as a support’

Having someone with you

It’s a good idea to have someone with you when you get your results.

“When you’re frightened and anxious it can help to have someone there to be another pair of ears and support you. Having said that, some people just want to do it by themselves. It depends how you feel.”

A cancer diagnosis

There’s no right or wrong way to react to a cancer diagnosis. What matters most is that you have as much information as you need and feel comfortable with any decisions you make.

You might feel a range of emotions, including fear, anger or helplessness. Linda says she was in shock. “An absolute total numbness went through my body,” she explains.

Nigel felt isolated. “I wanted to say to people around me on the street: ‘Don’t you realise …?’ It felt strange that life just went on as normal.”

Whether or not you confide in those close to you, it can often be helpful to get some support from someone who’s not related to you. Many people and places are available to help. Your nurse or specialist can give you information that’s relevant to your situation, and may be able to direct you to local support services, such as counselling and support groups, helplines and online forums.

What should you know?

  • When can you expect to start treatment and what side effects might you have? Find out more about side effects of chemotherapy and side effects of radiotherapy.
  • What is the treatment going to achieve? Is it likely to cure the cancer or will it slow down the growth of the cancer and improve symptoms?
  • Is there someone at the hospital you can contact if you feel unwell, before or after the treatment, or do you need to contact your GP?
  • There are often practical issues that need to be sorted out, such as financial matters. Ask if there’s someone at the hospital who can advise you about things such as benefits.

Write down questions as they occur to you and take these with you when you see your doctor.

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