Every cancer treatment has the potential to induce side effects or changes in your body and mood. Even when given the same treatment for the same type of cancer, people do not suffer the same side effects for various reasons. This can make predicting how you’ll feel during therapy difficult.
It’s natural to be concerned about treatment-related side effects as you prepare to begin cancer treatment. Knowing that your health care team will endeavor to prevent and alleviate side effects may be comforting. Palliative care, also known as “supportive care,” is a type of cancer treatment. Regardless of your age or stage of disease, it is a vital aspect of your treatment approach.
Coping with the physical consequences
Learn more about cancer’s side effects and treatment options, as well as how to prevent or manage them. The stage of your cancer, the length and dose of treatment, and your overall health all affect how your physical health changes.
Talk to your healthcare team about how you’re frequently feeling. Any new side effects or changes in current side effects must be communicated. They can also identify strategies to reduce or manage your side effects if they know how you’re feeling, making you feel more at ease and maybe preventing any unwanted effects from escalating. It may be beneficial to keep track of your side effects to explain any changes to your health care provider.
Side effects might sometimes linger even after treatment has ended. These are what doctors refer to as long-term adverse effects. Side effects that appear months or years after therapy are referred to as late effects. The treatment of long-term and late side effects is a significant aspect of survivorship care.
Managing emotional and social consequences
Following a cancer diagnosis, you may experience emotional and social consequences. This could include dealing with a range of emotions like sadness, anxiety, anger, and stress management. It can be difficult for people to express their feelings to their loved ones. Some people have discovered that talking to an oncology social worker, counsellor can help them create more effective ways of coping with cancer and talking about it.
Managing the Costs of Cancer Treatment
Cancer treatment can be costly. It could be a source of stress and anxiety for cancer patients and their families. In addition to treatment expenditures, many people discover that they have additional, unanticipated expenses associated with their care. Some people cannot follow or complete their cancer treatment plan due to the high cost of medical care. This may jeopardize their health and result in increased bills in the future. And so, patients and their families must speak with a health care team member about financial issues.
Dealing with Obstacles to Care
Various categories of people are affected by different rates of new cancer cases and have different cancer outcomes. These gaps are referred to as “cancer disparities.” Real-world barriers to quality medical care contribute to disparities, which disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, sexual and gender minorities (LGBTQ+), adolescent and young adult populations, older adults, and people living in rural areas or other underserved areas communities. If you’re having trouble accessing the care you need, speak with a member of your healthcare team or look into additional options for medically underserved people.
Caring for a cancer-stricken loved one
In caring for HCC, family and friends typically play a significant role. This is what it means to be a caretaker. Even if they reside far away, caregivers can provide physical, practical, and emotional support to the patient. Caring for someone else can be hard and emotionally draining. Caring for oneself is one of the most critical jobs for caregivers.
Caregivers may be responsible for a variety of tasks on a daily or as-needed basis, including:
- Providing encouragement and support
- Having a conversation with the medical staff
- Medication administration
- Assisting in the management of symptoms and side effects
- Keeping track of medical appointments
- Assisting with transportation to and from appointments
- Helping with meal preparation
- Assisting with household tasks
- Taking care of billing and insurance issues
A caregiving plan can assist caregivers in staying organized and identifying possibilities for job delegation. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor how much help you’ll need at home and with daily duties during and after treatment. Side effects should be discussed with your healthcare staff. Consult your doctor about possible side effects before beginning therapy.
- What are the most likely adverse effects?
- When are they most likely to occur?
- What can we do to prevent or alleviate their effects?
Any side effects that occur during or after treatment should be reported to your health care team. Tell them even if you don’t think the side effects are serious. This discussion should cover physical, emotional, social, and psychological issues.