The importance of supporting someone with cancer

The importance of supporting someone with cancer

No one likes to be sick, let alone to deal with a disease as serious as cancer. Those who have been diagnosed with cancer often become prone to depression, experience feelings of isolation and loneliness and suffer the difficult effects of treatment. Sometimes those with cancer don't want to be a burden to anyone, so they may not to reach out to family and friends for the help they need. That's why your support is especially important to a friend or loved one dealing with cancer.

Caregivers play a vital role in the life of a person with cancer. They are involved in day-to-day care, administration of medication, household tasks and management of finances and serve as a companion and friend. When a family member takes on the role of caregiver, it can have an especially positive emotional impact on a person with cancer due to the close, personal nature of the relationship. But family members who become caregivers must also be mindful of a patient's privacy and personal space. Above all, they are there to lend their support and keep the patient's needs first.

Even if they are not primary caregivers, friends and family can still act as a key source of support to someone with cancer. Just keeping your relationship as normal as possible—the way it was before their illness—can help to ease the stress of dealing with the disease and the side effects of treatment. Helping out around the house, cooking meals, watching TV together or even doing a load of laundry can be a huge help to someone with cancer. Frequent and regular visits are also highly recommended.

Just being present and available to talk and listen to the person with cancer is a great way to lend emotional support, especially when that person is feeling alone and afraid. Don't forget the physical aspect of support. A big smile, a touch on the arm, a rub on the back or a good hug may be enough to lift their spirits.

You can also play the role of communicator with the patient's treatment team, either as a primary caregiver or as a trusted family member. You can ask questions the person with cancer may forget to ask or not want to ask out of embarrassment. You can also keep a calendar of appointments and a journal containing patient resources and other information. By acting as the main point of contact, you can help alleviate the patient's stress and allow him or her to concentrate on their treatment.

No matter what role you take, your active and ongoing participation in the life of a person with cancer is vital to helping them on the road to recovery.

Posted: 3/23/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: Cancer, Care, Caregivers, Support, Supportive

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