Jump To:

  • A- A A+
  • Click to change font size:   

Print this page

9. Other practical things to do before you leave home

  • Do some gentle exercise (e.g. walking) if you feel up to it.
  • Eat a nutritious diet (usually this means more fibre, more dark green and orange vegetables, less fat, sugar and salt, unless you have been advised otherwise by a health professional).
  • Only do as much as you can both physically and mentally. This may be less than you’re used to.
  • Ask your local GP about PATS and get them to fill in the form for you.
  • Ask your local GP if there is a breast care nurse/cancer care coordinator or similar at your local health service who could help you.
  • Let your GP know if you’re having trouble sleeping or are in pain.
  • Prepare for the financial burden of treatment.
  • Speak to your employer/boss about taking leave (if applicable).
  • If necessary, make arrangements for people to keep an eye on your house, pets, garden etc. while you are away.
  • Notify any groups or services that you’re involved with that you will be away (e.g. Meals on Wheels, paper delivery, local recreational clubs).
  • Consider starting to put your affairs in order (e.g. updating/writing will, appointing a Power of Attorney). This doesn’t mean you’re giving up; it’s something everybody should do.
  • Consider obtaining ambulance cover if you don’t have it already (SA Ambulance Cover Customer Service Centre – phone 1300 136 272). If you’re medically required to be transferred home via road or air ambulance, it can be very costly without it.
  • As well as writing down all of the medications you’re currently taking (including both prescription and non-prescription or alternative medicines), make some notes about your medical history (e.g. any major prior illnesses or operations).
  • If you have children, consider alerting their school counsellor or classroom teacher about what is happening and offering them ideas about how they can help.
  • If you are intending to enter the health system as a private patient, carefully examine your policy and make sure that you’re covered for all aspects of your treatment. Make sure you understand all of the advantages and disadvantages of being admitted through the private system.
  • If you’re going to need chemotherapy, hair loss is common and you may like a wig. Make an appointment to see a wig specialist before your treatment begins. This will allow them to view your hair in its normal state and match a wig to it more easily.

For more tips based on what other people affected by cancer say they wish they had known earlier, click here.