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How to Offer Support to Cancer Patients

Cancer affects a person and the people surrounding them, including family and friends. A cancer diagnosis is a life-changing moment that makes those close to the patient feel unsure of how best to care for their loved one.

Support from loved ones can help cancer patients deal with their diagnosis, treatment, and life.

To support a cancer patient:

First, you have to learn more about their type of cancer and the changes the patient will be coping with. Every person’s cancer is unique, and the doctors will explain better what to expect to get you, and the patient prepared.

Here are some of the changes the patient is likely to experience:

  • Emotional changes – Every patient reacts to cancer in a different way. Some feel anger, guilt, uncertainty, sadness, and more. Their emotions may change as days go by. Together with the oncologists, you can help the patient adjust to their new condition.
  • Physical changes – Each cancer is unique. Some are curable, while others may need care to prolong life. The intensity of treatment will vary according to the stage of the disease. Some therapies will cause physical changes such as fatigue, weight loss, hair loss, lack of concentration, changes in taste and smell, and more.

You can offer supportive care to a cancer patient by;

  • Keeping everything normal – Offering help by performing tasks on behalf of your sick loved one can be helpful, but sometimes it makes them feel helpless. Allow them to cook or perform a few tasks to keep a normal environment for them. Engage them in the usual conversations to keep them connected and involved. Check on them more often, call them, or write them letters to let them know that you care.
  • Offer practical help – When treatment makes the patient unable to perform regular tasks, you can chip in to help with tasks such as taking them to their appointments and back, preparing their meals, doing their laundry, helping with childcare, and many other errands.

You can also encourage them to join cancer support groups. This will help to relieve their mindset that they may be carrying their cancer burden alone. Sharing with other people will make them stronger and determined to fight the disease. Remember, though, that the person is much more than their cancer, so help them overcome it.

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