Managing your cancer

Managing Your Cancer

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with a blood cancer, you surely have many questions. You can get answers here. You'll find step-by-step guidance and resources.

From the moment your doctor tells you that you have cancer until the time you start treatment, you'll be inundated with information and called on to make a number of decisions. These pages will guide you through the various aspects of managing your cancer. See the Treatment section for information about choosing a blood cancer specialist, understanding lab and imaging tests, making treatment decisions, managing side effects, and more.

Click here for printable lists of questions to ask your doctor.
We’re Here to Help. Our Information Specialists are available to help guide you through your journey.


In this section:

Managing your cancer

Newly Diagnosed

Newly Diagnosed: First Steps Each year 170,000 Canadians are diagnosed with some form of cancer. If you're one of these people, you may have questions about the disease, your prognosis, the treatments and your well-being. "Newly Diagnosed: First Steps" provides the information you need to work with members of your treatment team to move forward with the hope of remission and recovery. Subsequent sections will guid...

image of two women speaking

Do I Tell Anyone I Have Cancer?

Whether to share the news you have cancer with others can be a very personal decision. You're probably not sure what to do or how much to reveal. Some people with cancer choose to tell their loved ones only; others find it helps to let people they come in regular contact with know about their diagnosis. When people decide to tell others, they may do so for these reasons: It's too big and scary to deal with a...

image of two women

Life After Diagnosis And Treatment

Welcome to the new normal. Your treatment is over and now begins a new step in your journey: life after cancer. No one forgets that he, she or a loved one once had cancer. After remission, you may still feel anxiety about your health and fear that the cancer may return. This is especially true when you: Feel symptoms, even when they turn out to be unrelated to cancer Need follow-up visits Return to your doc...

Patients and doctor session image

Clinical Trials

Advances in cancer treatment depend on clinical trials of new therapies or new therapy combination. Researchers can design a clinical trial to test new treatment that improves response or quality of life for patients at any treatment stage. Talk to your doctor about whether treatment in a clinical trial is a good option for you.   How to Gather Information Make any treatment decisions in consultation...

image of patient speaking with a specialist

Long-Term and Late Effects For Cancer Survivors

Blood cancer survivors don't always have serious long-term or late effects of treatment. For those who do, some long-term effects, such as fatigue, can linger for months or years after therapy. Late effects, such as medical conditions like heart disease and other cancers, don't appear until years after treatment ends. Effects can range from mild to severe. Talk with your doctor about possible long-term and late ef...

image of couple speaking with a specialist


Your diagnosis is usually not a risk factor for infertility. However, Hodgkin lymphoma is associated with low sperm count, which has been reported in about two-thirds of patients. Chemotherapy and radiation can cause side effects as well as long-term and late effects, which can appear months or years after treatment. One possible late effect is infertility, the inability to conceive a child naturally. When fi...

image of a couple smiling

Sexuality and Intimacy

You may be concerned about how blood cancer and treatment will affect your current or future relationships and your sexuality. Sexuality refers to physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual factors. It includes self-image, body image, reproductive ability, emotional intimacy, sensual feelings and sexual functioning. Sexuality-related concerns may arise from the physical aspects of your disease or tre...

image of a bowl of cereal and fruit

Food and Nutrition

Eating well can help you feel better and stay stronger during and after cancer treatment. Patients who eat well and maintain a healthy body weight often tolerate treatment side effects better. And good nutrition also helps the body replace blood cells and tissues broken down by treatment. A healthy lifestyle plays a key role in keeping the body strong, supporting the immune system (the cells and proteins that defe...

image of a couple organizing medical records

Organizing Medical Records

Keeping a file with all your medical records in one place is a good idea, especially if you're seeing more than one doctor or seeking a second opinion. Get copies of lab reports from your healthcare providers and keep them in a file folder, a three-ring binder or any other system that works best for you. Organize test reports by date (chronological) so they're easy to find. By keeping organized records, you'l...

Finances and Insurance Coverage

Understanding your Healthcare Coverage Healthcare costs are a key concern for most people with blood cancer. Many patients don't have health insurance, and for others, coverage is limited. If you have health insurance, it's essential that you know what your plan covers and how to maintain your benefits. This is not only important for newly diagnosed patients but also for survivors who need follow-up visits. ...

image of a handshake

Employment Rights of Cancer Survivors

Work fulfils a critical financial and emotional need for most cancer survivors. In addition to providing income and important benefits such as health insurance, employment also can be a source of self-esteem. Cancer, however, may create barriers to finding and keeping a job, as well as wreak havoc on the ability to pay bills and to obtain adequate health insurance. Although most employers treat cancer survivors fa...

image of woman and her caregiver

Home Care

The Canadian Home Care Association (CHCA) defines home care as an array of services for people of all ages, provided in the home and community setting, that encompasses health promotion and teaching, curative intervention, end-of-life care, rehabilitation, support and maintenance, social adaptation and integration, and support for family caregivers. Health and home care services vary across Canada. “Medically ne...

image of holding hands

End of Life Care

The terminal phase of an illness can create unimaginable challenges for you, your loved ones and your family. A major shift in caring for the patient occurs; treating the patient to significantly prolong life becomes making the patient's last days as comfortable and painless as possible. Whether you're the patient, loved one or caregiver, you'll have to deal with all or some of the following during this difficult ...