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Support on Your Cancer Journey

  • Emotional Support for You and Your Loved Ones

    Cancer is a major illness and it is important to remember that as medical research and technology is constantly improving, the treatment for cancer is also constantly improving. However that does not mean that the road to recovery will be easy.

    doctor providing emotional support for cancer patient

    Cancer treatment can take a long time. Treatment methods such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can cause side effects. Some of these side effects may affect you physically are hair loss and blisters on your skin. Other side effects could affect your well-being and could cause tiredness and nausea. In addition, even after cancer treatment has ended, people with cancer must return for regular check-ups for the rest of their lives and stay alert for the signs of the cancer returning.

  • Your Emotional Reaction to a Cancer Diagnosis

    From the moment you are diagnosed with cancer, you may find yourself with some negative feelings. These feelings are normal for anybody diagnosed with a major illness, and it is important to identify such feelings so that you know how you can cope with them.

    cancer patient in shock after diagnosis

    Some of the feelings you may go through include:

    Shock

    Feeling a sense of denial, or being unable to react to the reality of having cancer is normal. Shock is a natural defence mechanism when your mind is unable to understand an unexpected situation.

    Someone in shock and denial at their cancer diagnosis may refuse to seek treatment. Your mind is trying to come to terms with the information and is uncertain of how to feel and react at the moment. It is good to take a bit of time to cope with your emotions, but bear in mind that the faster you begin your cancer treatment, the more effective it can be.

    Fear

    It is natural for anybody diagnosed with cancer to feel fear. Many people still see cancer as a deadly disease that is incurable. This may have been true in the past, however, due to the advances in cancer care and treatment, many cancers can now be treated and cured.

    Still, it is alright to feel afraid as cancer is a major illness and you do not know what to expect during treatment. There are many stories out there about the severe effects of cancer and cancer treatment. The best way to overcome your fear is by getting accurate information from your doctor about what you can expect to face during and after treatment.

    Anger

    While scientists have been able to identify the risk factors that can lead to cancer, there are no clear causes to many common cancers. This may lead to you feeling angry as you believe that you do not ‘deserve’ to contract cancer. Anger is a common reaction to a cancer diagnosis, but it is important to be mindful of this emotion in a healthy way, and to not take it out on your family and loved ones.

    A good way to manage anger is to channel it into your resolve to overcome your cancer through to recovery. You can also release your emotions by talking to a trusted family member or friend, joining a support group of cancer patients or relaxing through deep breathing techniques.

    Sadness

    It is natural for you to feel sad about your cancer diagnosis. It is one of the most common stages you will go through during your cancer journey. However, if the sadness takes over your life, you might find yourself depressed, losing interest in your hobbies or isolating yourself from other people.

    Keeping a healthy and positive attitude is very important for your recovery. Try to discover the best ways for you to release the sadness. Some effective ways of working through your feelings are listening to music, keeping a journal and being creative with art. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members and empower yourself with knowledge on positive thinking.

  • The Importance of Emotional Support

    You cannot be expected to be cheerful all the time, least of all if you are dealing with a life-changing disease such as cancer. It is important for you to learn how you can manage your negative emotions and keep a hopeful outlook on your treatment and recovery.

    happy cancer patient with doctor providing support

    Cancer is hard to deal with all alone. Although talking about your cancer can be hard at first, you may find that sharing your thoughts and feelings helps you deal with your cancer better. Having emotional support from your family and loved ones can be a very helpful tool for you during your cancer journey.

    It is possible for the people close to you to feel the same negative emotions as you. The best way for you and your family to learn how to cope with your emotions is to choose a healthcare provider that understands the emotional turmoil that cancer patients and their family members experience.

    An understanding specialist, who is willing to take the time to answer your questions and soothe your fears, can help you know your condition better and help you prepare for the treatment ahead. It is also good to have a doctor who is willing to help you explore your treatment options and counsel you through your decision process. During your treatment, experienced medical staff who can empathise with your needs can help comfort you during the process.

    Having a support group can also help greatly with managing your emotions during your cancer journey. Often, other cancer patients are the ones who can best empathise with what you are going through. Being a caregiver of a cancer patient can be extremely stressful, especially if you are caring for the cancer patient alone. A network of cancer caregivers can share their experiences and extend emotional help.

    A professionally trained counsellor can help you and your loved ones through this difficult period. Counselling helps you manage your emotions and stay positive and hopeful. Sometimes, your loved ones may wish to provide emotional support but they may not know how to best share your troubles. A counsellor can help improve your communication with them and advise them accordingly.

    Find the Emotional Support You Need

    CanHOPE is a non-profit cancer counselling and support service provider by Parkway Cancer Centre at Gleneagles Hospital. The CanHope team help patients during their cancer treatment, and provide counselling and education for them and their families. The team has dietitians who can recommend dietary plans for patients to stay healthy during treatment, and support group communities for patients to draw strength from each other. The staff at CanHOPE, experienced in working with cancer patients and their families, aim to inspire hope and positivity to help them better cope with cancer. Find out more about CanHOPE support groups and programmes.

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