A survey of the American Cancer Society says that three out of every four
American families have at least one family member diagnosed with cancer. A cancer diagnosis affects not only the cancer patient, but also their family, friends & co-workers. Any kind of relationship with a cancer patient should provide them with some amount of support, proving you to be an understanding person, who is able to appreciate their situation.
A cancer diagnosis can be a real crisis; everything seems to going in a haphazard way. There is also a need to provide a superficial feeling of ‘the helping hand’, as you struggle to comprehend your own feelings. Escorting a cancer patient to navigate the maze of details like finding an oncologist, understanding their treatment options, furnishing health updates etc are a few of the important functions that you ought to perform.
Below are some tips to help you cope when someone you love is diagnosed with cancer:
• One way to keep the mind free from being vulnerable and besieged is to offer support. Taking things in a pragmatic way such as driving them to treatments or doctors’ appointments, running errands, baby-sitting, doing household work etc helps a lot. Ask them what they are most concerned about not being able to do.
• Some questions posed at the doctor if and when you accompany your loved one to their appointments will definitely not go amiss.
• Don’t get startled if any change occurs in their behavior and mood.
Cancer medications, sickness, and stress can cause your loved one to become arrogant or morose. For example: - Generally this kind of behavior is seen in skin cancer patients. So you need to maintain some amount of tolerance while dealing with a cancer patient.
• Keep them as active and independent as possible, which will help your loved one to regain a sense of confidence and control over their life.
• Be practical and realistic in terms of daily requirements. Get enough sleep, eat properly, and take some time off for yourself, because you will not be able to work in times of help or need if you are exhausted and sick.
Take care of yourself and your needs; it will be easier to meet the needs of your loved one.
• Ask other family members and friends to help. They will appreciate the opportunity to do so.
• Maintain a positive attitude.
• Accept that there are things that are beyond your control.
• Be assertive instead of aggressive. Assert your feelings, opinions, or beliefs instead of fuming, being belligerent or passive.
• Fight stress, learn to relax. Exercise regularly.
• Avoid confrontation; feel at ease with their answers.
Join a support group for friends and families of cancer patients.
Remember that you are not alone if someone you love is diagnosed with cancer. You are likely to experience a conflicting range of emotions, including disbelief, anger, relief, worry and even guilt. Fears of mortality, puzzling family roles, having your own needs met, and uncertainty about the future can surface when your loved one is diagnosed with cancer. These are customary feelings which may prove to be a problem. It will hence be beneficial to talk to others who are undergoing the same problems. These were some common points led down by American cancer society.