Every cancer medication can cause side effects or significant changes to a patient’s body and how they feel. There are several reasons why people do not go through the exact side effects even when given the same medication for the same type of cancer. This can make it hard for the medical practitioner to forecast how the patient feels during treatment.
As you prepare yourself to start undergoing cancer treatment, it is widespread to experience anxiety related to treatment-related side effects. Collecting all the information can be extremely hard, sometimes tricky, especially when you have just been diagnosed. Ask your medical practitioner and nurses to explain things again if you need them to, and always remember that you don’t have to sort everything out at once
It may help you and your health care team better understand where you are and will work to counter and relieve both the physical and emotional side effects. Medical practitioners call this phase or period of cancer treatment “palliative care” or “supportive care.” It is an essential phase of your treatment plan, regardless of your age or the stage of cancer, or any disease for that matter. Emotional support plays a very significant role in the betterment of the patient.
Coping with physical side effects
Common physical side effects from each treatment option for melanoma are listed in the Types of Treatment section. Learn more about the side effects of cancer and its treatment, along with ways to prevent or control them. Changes to your physical health depend on several factors, including cancer’s stage, the length and dose of treatment, and general health.
If your treatment included lymph node dissection and radiation therapy under the arm or groin, fluid buildup in the affected limb, called lymphedema, is possible. However, graduated support garments, special massages, and other treatments help manage this condition.
Talk with your health care team regularly about how you are feeling. It is essential to let them know about any new side effects or changes in existing side effects. If they see how you feel, they can find ways to relieve or manage your side effects. Consequently, to help you feel more comfortable and potentially keep any side effects from worsening.
You may find it helpful to keep track of your side effects, so it is easier to explain any changes with your health care team. Learn more about why tracking side effects is helpful.
Sometimes, physical side effects can last after treatment ends. However, doctors call these long-term side effects. They call side effects that occur months or years after treatment late effects. Nevertheless, treating long-term side effects and late effects is essential for survivorship care. Learn more by reading the follow-up care section of this guide or talking with your doctor.
Coping with emotional and social effects
Following a cancer diagnosis, you may experience emotional and social consequences. Dealing with difficult emotions like sadness, worry, depression, fear, or rage and managing your stress level are examples. Patients sometimes have difficulty communicating their feelings to their loved ones. These loved ones may also struggle to understand or respond to your feelings.
Essentially, patients and their families are advised to talk to a health care team member about their feelings. Initially, care teams can put you in touch with a mental health specialist who specialises in assisting cancer patients. Then, mental health specialists can help cancer patients and their families manage and cope with their emotions. A separate component of this website contains coping strategies for emotional and social impacts. This section has a wealth of information and tools to help you locate the support and information you require.
Coping with the costs of cancer care
Cancer treatment can be costly. It is frequently a substantial source of worry and anxiety for persons with cancer and their families. In addition to treatment expenditures, many people discover 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 jeopardise their health and result in increased bills in the future. Patients and their families are urged to speak with a health care team member about financial issues. There may be resources to assist with cancer-related expenses. You can learn more about handling financial considerations in a different section of this website.
Caring for a loved one with cancer
In caring for a person with melanoma, family and friends often play a vital 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.
Caregivers may be responsible for a variety of tasks on a daily or as-needed basis, including:
- Providing encouragement and support to your loved one.
- Having a conversation with the medical care team.
- 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
Regular psychological screening of patients with melanoma is widely suggested as a standard practice; however, standard screening measures may have limited reactivity and precision, as demonstrated by the wide range of results reported in this review. The development of a brief screening tool that incorporates empirically supported risk factors is recommended to improve the timely identification and support of those patients most susceptible to adverse psychological outcomes.