If you’ve been diagnosed with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC), you may be feeling overwhelmed with emotions. You also may be unsure about what to do next and wondering where the best places are for support.
Talking about your feelings, particularly with someone who understands what you’re going through, can give you perspective on your situation. It can also help relieve some of the stress of living with metastatic cancer.
The following seven resources can provide you with valuable advice and support following your diagnosis.
When it comes to discussing the specifics of your RCC, your healthcare team should be the first people you turn to. They have the most detailed information about your medical situation. They also can provide you with the best advice on how to manage your symptoms and improve your outlook.
If you have questions about anything related to your illness, your treatment plan, or your lifestyle, ask a member of your healthcare team before turning to any other outside resources. Often, your healthcare team can point you in the right direction based on your questions and concerns.
Online forums, message boards, and social media pages are another option for support. Communicating online can provide you with a sense of anonymity that may allow you to express things you wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about in public.
Online support has the added benefit of being available 24 hours a day. It allows you to connect with people all over the world rather than just in your own area. It also serves as an added support network, which may provide you with a sense of not being alone with your diagnosis.
Your friends and family likely want to help you in any way they can after your diagnosis, so don’t be afraid to ask them for emotional support.
Even if it’s just spending an afternoon together or chatting on the phone for an hour, socializing with people you care about can help to take your mind off the stress of your situation for a while. Your friends and family are the people who know you best, and they likely know what to do or say to cheer you up or get you laughing.
It can be comforting to talk to other people who are going through a similar experience. They’ll understand the rollercoaster of emotions that can result from a metastatic cancer diagnosis.
Expressing your feelings openly without fear of judgment can be extremely cathartic. Plus, listening to other people talk about their struggles may give you valuable insight into your own situation.
Ask your doctors if they recommend any support groups in your area.
Oncology social workers are trained professionals who can provide you with short-term, cancer-focused support in both individual and group settings. They can also help you to organize practical assistance and locate community resources that are available in your area.
Social workers are available to talk with you over the phone from anywhere in the United States, or in person if you live in certain cities. Your healthcare team should be able to provide you with information on local social worker support.
After your diagnosis, you may experience mental health issues like depression and anxiety. If you feel like your RCC diagnosis has been affecting your mental well-being, it may be useful for you to talk to a mental health professional.
The National Institute of Mental Health can help connect you with a mental health professional in your area, or you can ask a member of your healthcare team to provide you with a referral.
Nonprofit organizations like the American Cancer Society are a valuable resource for both emotional and practical support. They can help connect you with online and in-person counseling. They can also arrange for things like transportation to and from cancer-related medical appointments.
They may even be able to match you up with clinical trials for new RCC treatments, and can provide information on financial aid services to help you cover the cost of your healthcare.
Remember that you’re not alone. There are a variety of options available to help support you during and after your treatment for metastatic RCC. If you’re feeling lonely, worried, or confused about your diagnosis, consider reaching out to any of these resources for guidance and support.