Cancer Provider and Patient

Next Steps after a Cancer Diagnosis

When you learn you have cancer, life feels upside down. You need to make practical decisions while you’re still dealing with the diagnosis. We’re here to help you do the most important things first and save your strength for the days ahead.

Find the right doctor

When you choose a doctor to treat your cancer, you want someone who’s a good fit – someone you can trust with your care and who makes you feel comfortable. Ask the doctor who found your cancer to recommend two to three specialists. Ask why your doctor thinks each is right for you, and which one you should talk to first. You can also search for a doctor using our online physician directory.

Find a cancer specialist near you.

Seek a second opinion

You may want to get a second opinion from a cancer specialist who will look at your diagnosis and treatment plan. In most cases, you’ll learn you’re on the right track, but it helps to review your options and have confidence in your treatment decisions. Second opinions are generally covered by health insurance.

Learn about cancer treatment

It is important to take an active role in your medical and treatment decisions. Start by learning about your cancer diagnosis and treatment options. Treatment varies by the type of cancer, but generally includes a combination of:

If you want to do additional research, be sure to use reliable resources. Other credible sources include:

Get support from the right people

When people learn that you have cancer, they’re quick to share advice and stories – sometimes a little too quick. Every cancer experience is different, and yours will be unique, too.

Tune out the voices that aren’t helpful and lean on trusted friends and family for support. They have your best interests at heart and can protect you and your privacy. It will be natural for them to want to help, so give them specific things to do that will make your life easier.

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