Every year hundreds of dollars and endlessly hours of scientific research will be spent fighting cancer. However, it is possible for every one of us to suffer at some point in our lives from any kind of cancer. Many of us might have, or have had, a family member dealing with cancer. Being in a stressful situation like this it can be difficult, especially when we have to care for and support our own much-loved family members. Here are a few tips on making things easier.
Accept the disease
The first step when a family member is diagnosed with cancer is to accept the fact. If you start having questions like ”why and how could this happen to us?” or if you feel angry and even deny the fact, it’s not going to help you. Accepting the disease will help you and the patient themselves to learn more about the diagnosis, the tests and the treatments available. Access all the information you might need in order to decide all together about the treatment plan. Hospitals and other leaders in oncology care will give you the answers to your first or more complicated questions about any type of cancer.
Give practical-medical care
Once a family member is diagnosed with cancer, treatment might need to start immediately. You must be prepared and ready to support medical care – such as managing and giving medications, and accompanying the patient to the doctors appointments. However, all of this could be easier than it sounds if you educate yourself about the cancer and the treatment plan, and note down all the questions you might have to ask the doctor and nurses. Keeping financial records regarding patient’s expenses, keeping the house clean, shopping and preparing patient’s meals are a few more ways to give all the practical help that a cancer patient will need.
Give emotional care
Giving emotional care to a cancer patient is not so simple. In fact, it’s the hardest part of the support you will give. Sometimes patients feel guilty, sad or angry, and although they have accepted the disease, they can’t easily cope with all their negative emotions. Staying close to the patient while listening to their concerns will help them be more open about how they feel, or about what they think about every step of their cancer treatment. Don’t pressure them to feel a certain way – they will experience different feelings during the different stages of their illness. Accepting their changing emotions and being supportive as to how they deal with these, will encourage the patient to talk to you, stay relaxed and feel loved by their family.
Life with cancer/life after cancer
More and more patients, after having a successful treatment, become free from cancer and can go, sooner or later, back to their normal life. Other patients though, need to repeat their treatment more than once and many, unfortunately, might never be cured. Trying to maintain a positive outlook on life, and trying to keep life as normal as possible will help them cope with what’s ahead. Expressing your own feelings about the situation, accepting the bad moments and sharing the love, will comfort and help the family and the patient to deal efficiently and calmly with this very challenging, emotional and tough situation.
What are your tips on caring and supporting family cancer patients? Let us know in the comment section below.
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