Endorsed by the European Oncology Nursing Society

How can I prepare for treatment?

How can I prepare for treatment? image

It is difficult to prepare yourself for a cancer diagnosis, but there are plenty of steps you can take to prepare for cancer treatment. Learning about your treatment and ways to support yourself can help you reduce any concerns you may have.1

Prepare for your visit

There may be documents you need to take to the hospital or clinic; to make your visit to the hospital or clinic easier, ask your doctor whether you need to have:2

  • Your referral form2
  • A health insurance card2
  • A list of all your medications2

You may want to bring some personal items along as well; however, you should not leave valuables such as jewellery and money unattended. Things you may want to pack include: 3

  • Comfortable clothes
  • Books, magazines, or puzzles
  • Lip balm, body lotion, and other toiletries
  • Warm socks or slippers
  • Healthy snacks

Plan ahead for recovery

Many cancer treatments may cause you to not feel your best, even after your treatment ends.4Some practical concerns to think about and plan for include:

  • Who will take me to the hospital? 3
  • Who will take care of my children, my pets, or my plants?5
  • Which of my friends or family members can I ask to help me at home after treatment5
  • What arrangements do I need to make at work?5

Talk to others who have been through it

Connecting with other people who have had cancer treatment may provide you emotional and moral support. Because they have experienced something similar to what you will be going through, people with cancer can provide practical tips about how to cope with your current condition. You may also find support groups help you feel more empowered, in control, and less isolated.6



  1. National Cancer Institute. Coping with advanced cancer. Accessed May 2016.
  2. Mayo Clinic. Preparing for a visit. Accessed February 2016.
  3. NHS. Hospital admissions. Accessed February 2016.
  4. Cancer Research UK. Sickness from treatment. Accessed May 2016.
  5. Mayo Clinic. How you prepare. Accessed February 2016.
  6. Mayo Clinic. Support groups: make connections, get help. Accessed April 2016.