The very word ‘Cancer’ looms fear and despair in the public eye. Cancer is seen as a dreaded disease that can alter your quality of life. The general perception is that cancer is a terminal disease. This very thought among cancer patients brings down their mental health. The diagnosis of cancer in an individual brings stress not only on the patient but the entire family as well. With the growing number of cancer cases worldwide, it is very important to address both the physical and emotional wellbeing of cancer patients as this will help to improve the quality of life of cancer patients. It is important to have supportive care and assistance to give hope and assurance to cancer victims and their families to give them the strength to fight off this disease. Positive mental health plays an active role in improving physical treatment.
Factors which Affects a Cancer Patient
- Fear of Unknown: We all fear death and cancer brings a feeling of ‘unknown’ fear into the lives of individuals diagnosed with cancer. The patient starts to think about, ‘what will happen to me, how will my family cope, what changes will happen to my future plan, how will society see me and what exactly will my life change into’. This fear of the unknown is a struggle mentally. It leaves patients with anxiousness and stress. The patient needs a supportive environment for which family and friends can help through. Spiritual well-being can play a positive impact on improving mental health.
- Fear of Pain and Suffering: Having to go through fear and pain is one of the greatest fears in life. People generally feel that physical pain can bring in uncontrolled suffering. Patients feel that dying must be very painful and patients feel as if there is a loss of dignity. The patients may have seen other patients with cancer in pain and heard or seen terminal patients screaming and crying. When these vivid pictures cross a patient’s mind, it can bring about a lot of anxiety. Over-thinking of the cancer situation will drag an individual towards stress. Pain can otherwise bring guilt to patients, who view that their suffering can add grief to family. Pain can be managed by doctors, and it is important for patients to be aware that there are necessary analgesics to help them to beat the pain and suffering. It is important that cancer patients and families are made aware of the options and treatment methods they can choose from.
- Fear of Abandonment: Cancer patients fear that they might lose people close to them and this brings fear of abandonment. When patients begin to lose control, the fear that others might leave you, can be terrible. When treatment is given aggressively, and if Physicians emphasize that ‘there is nothing they can do’ then the feeling of abandonment can feel intense. If a partner decides to break off it can add to additional fear and distress. It is very important that the family of a cancer patient gives motivation and encouragement to alleviate the fears of abandonment.
- Loss of Control: A patient who has advanced cancer can have weakness, confusion and fatigue with less opportunity to maintain self-control. This decreases an individual’s self-reliance and independence which might make a person to feel embarrassed provoking anxiety. Family and society should be corporative and help with presence to remove fear from the patient’s mind. The patients should be helped to prioritise things they like and this would give them a sense of control.
- Loss of Identity: When cancer progresses the patient gets weaker and he or she may not be able to maintain former skills and interests. Conflicts can occur in relationships. When people with cancer are unable to function as their former self, it makes them feel as if they have lost their identity. This feeling makes people feel depressed. It’s important to help such patients with a sense of purpose and identity.
- Loss of Physical Beauty: Aggressive cancer therapy can lead to an alteration in a person’s appearance, such as loss of hair, body weakness etc. This can have a severe impact on patients. Patients may feel they are not loved and might not feel happy about their new look. They would think about how society feels about them. Thus, assisting with personal care in cancer patients can improve their mental health and wellbeing.
- Loss of hope: The feeling that there is very limited time with loved ones and that relationships with loved ones might come to an end instils loss of hope and desperation. The fact that you may want to forgive people in life may become a struggle for former grudges. Also when hope for a cure may be absent in a terminal illness, then it is important to console and comfort a patient. Loss of hope brings mental agony and despair. It is very important to reframe hope to the lives of patients to enhance their wellbeing.
How can a cancer patient’s emotional well-being be improved?
It is very important that cancer patients stay positive and hopeful. Emotional well-being is part of the healing process and can significantly help to improve quality of life and outcomes. So, if you know of someone who is going through cancer then follow these tips:
- Talk to the patient: Having positive people around can be helpful. In addition to family and friends, a clinical social worker would be a good resource
- Help the patient with a goal: It’s important to assist the patient on carrying out their interests to help them have a purpose in life
- Helping with Daily Activities: The patient should not feel abandoned and helping with daily tasks would make them feel better
- Spiritual healing: The patient’s positivity can be helped through spiritual healing. Yoga, mindfulness meditation can improve the patient’s mental health status.
A cancer diagnosis can have a significant impact both physically and mentally. The psychological effects extend beyond the patient to the family too. Efficient care delivery is important and to improve positivity and mental health, society, friends and allied healthcare individuals must work together to facilitate emotional care. Send All Request & Donations To: 2288 Gunbarrel Rd. Suite 154/388, Chattanooga/TN 37421 Our Cash App: $LoyalDetermined