The diagnosis of cancer in itself can be life-altering, but the lengthy process of treatment can bring additional hurdles. After a cancer diagnosis, utilizing all available resources can help you tackle the different challenges you and your loved ones might face.
Various Treatment Approaches
Depending on your exact type of cancer and the treatments available, there might be options that are more conducive to staying out of the hospital. For example, you should ask your oncologist if certain treatments can be administered on an outpatient basis or taken in an oral form. This might reduce the duration for each treatment and allow you to have treatments in a more comfortable environment, with less risk of acquiring infections.
Similarly, newer medications on the market used to elevate white blood cell counts after chemotherapy can be administered by simply placing a patch on your arm. The patch administers the injection on the next day, so you do not have leave out of your home. Other considerations include any care that can be done by a skilled in-home nurse, such as dressing changes, wound care, or port management.
Regardless of whether you are newly diagnosed with cancer, are going through treatment, or in remission, emotional support is critical at all stages of your journey. It is important to find services that are specifically designed to address the emotional needs of cancer patients, since they can face unique emotional challenges. This can include individual counseling, support groups, or treatment with medication for anxiety or depression. If you cannot leave your home or it is unwise to do so, you may be able to find online resources that meet this need.
People who are going through cancer may need to deal with fear or guilt because they feel like a burden on loved ones. Other concerns, such as changes in physical appearance from treatment, may require intervention to prevent degradation of body image and self-esteem.
Caregivers are often forgotten during a health crisis and it is imperative for them to receive the support they need. Resources available for caregivers might include someone to help them with tasks around the house or the care of their loved one. Caregivers need "me" time, too. Additionally, many caregivers need someone to talk to who will not pass judgment. It is normal for caregivers to experience episodes of anger, resentment, or hopelessness, especially if their life has changed dramatically throughout the process. Not only do they face the physical and emotional demands of being a caregiver, but they may have to come to terms with the potential for loss if the diagnosis is terminal.
Treating cancer requires a multifaceted approach because effective treatment is more than just physical. Finding and using all available cancer care services for well-rounded support will only enhance your treatment.