I survived two very rare cancers in two years which included many treatments and surgeries. I want to encourage others who are facing a cancer diagnosis, and have the following advice to share:

The best thing you can do receiving an initial cancer diagnosis is to find out as much as you can about it and possible treatments. It’s very helpful to find a support group or someone who has gone through that particular cancer treatment.

An optimistic attitude is especially helpful. Surround yourself with positive people to uplift your spirits. A program called Look Good Feel Better was very helpful for me because the program leader recommended makeup tips, hair tips, and other tips to help myself and others with cancer feel and look better.

If chemo is recommended, find a large bag and fill it with a comfy blanket, warm socks, adult coloring books, markers, magazines and books to take with you during the three-hour treatments.

Celebrate. When I finished chemo, I had a party on the chemo unit that had music, party hats, and streamers to pass out among the cancer patients on the unit. It was a huge celebration!

– Deborah Abbott, Appendiceal Cancer and Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma