Cancer knocks on our door when no one is waiting for it. This disease occurs every day. That’s the side of the coin we never want to see. It starts with confirming the diagnosis, and then comes hundreds of questions with constant input: Why me? We try to stick to life, but there are times when the pain gets too hard. Helping cancer patients is complicated.
Cancer affects a person’s mind and body health even after treatment is stopped. The most common symptoms are fatigue and psychological stress due to the impact of the diagnosis and intervention process. Other common problems include depression and anxiety, physical weakness and concentration and memory problems.
A tyrant of social support
Nothing is as unique as pain. Nothing is a more personal experience than that. As Thiebault said, “Injury can be avoided, but pain cannot be avoided.” Not everyone’s minds can integrate and deal with mental or physical pain. And here’s the paradox: the body stays quiet when it doesn’t hurt, but it stays in the mind when it’s silent. Cancer is a tough battle and it is important to respect how the sufferer wants to face it. It is also important to let him communicate all his feelings, including feelings of giving up and fatigue.
We often use expressions of support to encourage and comfort. However, sometimes unnoticed, we instead create expectations. “You are a hero.” “Don’t worry, you’re strong.” In some cases, when we show our affection with the best of intentions, we give a picture of “bad optimism”. As if patients and relatives were obliged to face their illness with all enthusiasm and strength. Cancer is a really difficult experience, and a happy look is not always necessary. Leave room for fear and pain.
Supporting and loving is very important, but we need to be careful what we say so that we do not put more pressure and burden on the patient. It is wrong to turn these individuals into “heroes” by doing so by stripping them of their human circumstances. The burden of their illness is enough. They need our company and support. We need to consider their pain, accept their feelings, and appreciate their efforts. We need to listen and take care of their needs. This is the best help we can offer.
Equally important is to give their family members room for anger, fatigue, and pain. Don’t drive them into a corner telling them that they should be “proud” to be the parent, sister, child, etc. of a “fighter” like that, of course we need to give support, but we should also give them room to fall and rise again.
Cancer a threat to survival
Getting a cancer diagnosis creates a strong stress response. Cancer patients have the 6 most common fears: death, addiction (to other people), life interruption, discomfort, disability, and appearance. Receiving information is essential. Patients who receive information tailored to their needs have better control over the treatment process and are more cooperative and active during treatment. In this sense, the greater the uncertainty, the more discomfort manifests itself.
The information must be realistic. The primary goal is to clear up any doubts a person has about the process. However, unfounded expectations or hopes must not be given. Sometimes this happens when we feel we need to say something to support it and don’t actually check what we are saying. Remember, it is not always necessary to say something. Listening to a person’s needs and respecting their time and silence is a way to show understanding and affection.
Sometimes it is not easy to understand how our loved ones react to their illness. It is also difficult to understand our own actions when faced with such painful and complex situations. Managing many situations escapes us and we don’t know what to do, we get frustrated and try to figure out what the other person is thinking or feeling. After all, we don’t want them to suffer. We do not want to suffer.
How a patient handles the disease is related to that person’s coping style. These styles are determined by the patient’s thinking patterns and personality factors. In general, there are 5 coping styles:
These individuals see the disease as a challenge. “I have to sustain my life like I have so far. I have to decide what I can do. ” Even the diagnosis itself becomes a challenge. They focus on the control they can use in the situation and develop an optimistic prediction. They try to get a lot of information. Practical and useful information, not excessive information. They are looking for something that will help them actively participate in the process.
These types of people deny the negative things that the disease can cause them. “It’s not that bad, everything stays the same. There is nothing to worry about. ” They try to minimize how they see the threat, downplaying its importance. They don’t focus on controlling it like they do using a fighting style of survival. They assume a manageable prognosis and underestimate the effects of the disease. People with this style of coping may turn to substance abuse to escape.
Believe in destiny
Those with this style of coping accept it passively. “Everything is in the hands of doctors.” “God has decided my destiny.” They submit. They don’t see the threat as very serious and give control outside of them (doctors, God, etc.). These patients do not use active strategies to survive and have difficulty adapting.
The patient feels crushed. “Nothing can be done, just waiting for death.” They see the diagnosis as a very serious threat, a great loss. So they feel they have no control over their situation. They don’t even believe in the control of others, like doctors. This type of patient can give up hygiene, food, etc. Mood disorders are also very common in this group.
This group experiences intense anxiety and anxiety. “I have to observe all the symptoms, I have to learn everything I can.” The patient feels a great threat and constantly doubts his situation. They are also very uncertain about the future. As a result, they need soothing information all the time. This style may be associated with anxiety and somatoform disorders.
Quality of life
There are three basic criteria for understanding quality of life. First, it is entirely subjective. Each person is unique and values their quality of life based on their experiences, aspirations, and individual preferences. It is also multidimensional. In other words, we must take into account the wide-ranging side effects of the disease and its treatment. Finally, it is temporary. The quality of life depends on the present. It changes according to the situation.
Quality of life has always been closely linked to disease. Patients want to live, do not survive. This requires consideration of the patient’s activity and autonomy. It is also important to look at the physical impact and psychological state of the illness (anxiety, depression, self-esteem, etc.).
We cannot forget the social side. Satisfaction with social relationships and the support network is very important. Equally important is spiritual life. Finally, material resources such as money and medical care are important.
In short, it is important to consider a person’s needs. Respecting and helping to make decisions based on their assessments and aspirations will help them manage difficulties and overcome difficulties. The problem is not just adding years to life, but adding life to years.