The gastrointestinal stromal tumor treatments can cause various side effects and changes to the body of the patient. The results of treatment are different for different patients. Sometimes a particular treatment strategy used for a particular disease condition can have different outcomes. Hence, it is difficult to predict the outcome and impact of a specific treatment. Therefore, coping-up strategies are adopted to mitigate the side effects of the treatment. Open communication with a healthcare professional regarding the signs or symptoms experienced by the patients can help to effectively manage and relieve these symptoms and side effects.
The patients seek professional therapies to mitigate the adverse emotional impacts during gastrointestinal stromal tumor treatment. The general side effects of each treatment option for early-stage and locally advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors are tackled 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. However, there are several services that help patients manage such issues during the treatment. Caregivers play an essential role in caring for a person with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor. It is also crucial to maintain an effective communication of the patient with the healthcare team regarding the various side effects and symptoms.
Coping-up Treatment for Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor
A cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming, 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 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
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 difficult to convey their feelings to their loved ones. Hence, talking to a social worker, counsellor, or clergy member can do wonders in their emotional wellness.
Coping with cancer cost
Cancer treatment can be costly. It can often become a reason for distress for the patient and their loved ones. 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 so, the 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, in any way possible.
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
- 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 gastrointestinal stromal tumor diagnosis and treatment3.
- 1.Fauske L, Hompland I, Lorem G, Bondevik H, Bruland ØS. Perspectives on treatment side effects in patients with metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumour: a qualitative study. Clin Sarcoma Res. Published online April 30, 2019. doi:10.1186/s13569-019-0116-3
- 2.Sugiyama Y, Sasaki M, Kouyama M, Tazaki T, Takahashi S, Nakamitsu A. Current treatment strategies and future perspectives for gastrointestinal stromal tumors. WJGP. Published online January 22, 2022:15-33. doi:10.4291/wjgp.v13.i1.15
- 3.Lim KT, Tan KY. Current research and treatment for gastrointestinal stromal tumors. WJG. Published online 2017:4856. doi:10.3748/wjg.v23.i27.4856