Diagnosis

 
The annual number of new cancer cases in Ontario has more than doubled in the last few decades. Approximately 2 in 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime and about 1 in 4 Canadians will die of cancer.  In Ontario, there are nearly 75,000 new cancer cases diagnosed annually. 
 
In the Mississauga Halton region, it is projected that nearly 5,500 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2013, and in the Central West, 3,300 new cancer cases will be diagnosed in 2013. (reference CSQI http://www.csqi.on.ca/cancer_in_ontario/)
 
Diagnosis is when cancer is first identified. Determining how much cancer there is and its location is called cancer staging, which helps the oncologist determine the best treatment plan for the patient.
 
A cancer diagnosis can be a challenging time. It can be difficult to understand a cancer diagnosis, and it is normal to have many questions and concerns. If you or someone you care about has recently been diagnosed with cancer, consider:
 
• Gathering information you need. Finding answers to your questions will help you make an informed decision about your treatment and care. Try to be involved in your care planning, and gather information from reliable sources. 
 
• Make the most out of your medical appointments. Consider how much information you want to know. Some people want to know all the details, while others want to know minimum facts. Come to your appointments prepared with questions you want to ask. Bring someone with you to your appointments, and don’t be afraid to ask for more information or for clarity when you don’t understand something.
 
• Create an information file. Document important notes related to your diagnosis and treatment; keep handouts, reports, forms, etc. that can be referenced at a future date. This will help you keep track of your care.
 
• Connect with community resources. It may help to talk with someone who understands what you are going through during your cancer diagnosis and treatment.  Speak to your healthcare provider to find out what options exist for you, or visit www.cancerconnection.ca to connect with someone online.

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