A cancer diagnosis can be overburdening, but you can find ways to cope with stress and uncertainty with time.
Whether chemotherapy or radiotherapy, every cancer treatment has its side effects that can cause changes in the body, either physically or mentally. People do not encounter the same side effects even though they receive the same treatment because everybody responds differently.
Coping with physical side effects
Communication with your health care team about how you feel is very important, so they know any new side effects or changes in the existing ones. If your health care team knows about how you are feeling, they can help relieve and manage your side effects to make you feel more comfortable and prevent the side effects from worsening.
Sometimes, physical side effects can stay after treatment ends, which are long-term side effects. The side effects that occur months or years after treatment are called late effects. Treatment of long-term side effects and late effects is essential for survivorship care.
Coping with emotional side effects
After cancer diagnosis, you may experience emotional and social effects that include dealing with difficult emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, anger, or managing your stress level. Sometimes, people find it challenging to convey their feelings to their loved ones. Talking to an oncology social worker, counsellor, or clergy member can help them develop more effective coping methods and talking about cancer.
Coping with cancer cost
Cancer treatment can be costly. It can become a reason for stress and anxiety for the family and a person with cancer. Cancer cost includes treatment costs and unplanned expenses related to the care. The high medical care cost stops some people from completing their cancer treatment plan, which puts their health and life at risk and can cause higher prices in the future. Patients and their families can talk about financial concerns with a healthcare team member.
Caring for a loved one with cancer
A caregiver is a person that plays a vital role in taking care of a person with cancer. A family member or friend can be a caregiver providing physical, practical, and emotional support to patients, even if they live far away. The responsibility of caregivers may include:
- Giving medications
- Providing support and encouragement
- Helping manage symptoms and side effects
- Talking with the health care team
- Assisting with meals
- Coordinating medical appointments
- Providing a ride to and from appointments
- Handling insurance and billing issues
- Helping with household chores
Taking with your Health care team about the side effects
- Which side effects are most likely to happen?
- What can be done to prevent or relieve them?
- When are they likely to happen?
Always make sure to tell your health care team about any side effects that happen during treatment and afterwards, too. Inform them even if you do not think the side effects are severe. This discussion should include the physical, emotional, social, and financial impact of a cancer diagnosis.