Colorectal cancer treatment results into causing various side effects and alterations to the patient’s body. The results of treatment show variations as per the individuals. Sometimes the same treatment strategy used for a particular disease condition evolves with different effects. Hence, it is difficult for predicting the outcome and impact of a specific treatment. Therefore, coping-up strategies are adopted to mitigate the treatment’s side effects. Open communication with the expert regarding new signs or symptoms experienced by the patients helps plan ways to manage and relieve these symptoms and side effects effectively. The patients can seek professional therapies for mitigating the adverse emotional impacts during colorectal cancer treatment. General physical side effects of each treatment option for early-stage and locally advanced colorectal cancer are addressed by adopting supportive or palliative care provided by the healthcare team. Patients and their families are motivated to communicate with the medical team about their financial concerns. Several services help patients manage such a group of people in treating colorectal cancer. Caregivers play an essential role in caring for a person with colorectal cancer. Effective communication of the patient with the healthcare team is maintained regarding the side effects.
Coping-up Treatment for Colorectal Cancer
A cancer diagnosis can be overburdening, but you can find ways to cope with stress and uncertainty with time. Whether chemotherapy or radiotherapy, every colorectal 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 of colorectal cancer treatment
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 1.
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 2.
Coping with emotional side effects of colorectal cancer treatment
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 colorectal 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 colorectal 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 3.
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
Talking with your Health care team about the side effects of colorectal cancer treatment
- Which side effects 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.
- 1.Asiedu GB, Eustace RW, Eton DT, Radecki Breitkopf C. Coping with colorectal cancer: a qualitative exploration with patients and their family members. Family Practice. Published online July 30, 2014:598-606. doi:10.1093/fampra/cmu040
- 2.Vargas-Román K, Tovar-Gálvez MI, Liñán-González A, Cañadas de la Fuente GA, de la Fuente-Solana EI, Díaz-Rodríguez L. Coping Strategies in Elderly Colorectal Cancer Patients. Cancers. Published online January 26, 2022:608. doi:10.3390/cancers14030608
- 3.Sterba KR, Zapka J, Gore EI, et al. Exploring Dimensions of Coping in Advanced Colorectal Cancer: Implications for Patient-Centered Care. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology. Published online September 2013:517-539. doi:10.1080/07347332.2013.822049