This World Cancer Day, our thoughts lie towards helping cancer patients reclaim their lives through sound support systems.
For a lot of women who woke up one day to detect a lump in their breast, its usual for most to experience a major loss of control over their lives. The statistical projections showing less optimism and higher deaths from Cancer cases among other things, would usually be a major cause of anxiety for people living with cancer. Life as it is takes a very strange and rapid turn for many, fears become a constant companion.
For Diana (not real name) a mother of two who lost her own mother who was 38 years old at the time, there had all days been that fear that she would also get a positive diagnosis some day. There are times when diagnoses have come up negative on a first test but turned out positive on reoccurrence. These situations render many patients perpetually bound in a cycle of fear.
The 4th of February is one special day when we pledge support for patients and also raise awareness for all to provide support appropriately. There are major support needs which carers and communities can give to people living with cancer, developing nations and communities may not know the little measures that could be taken to ease patient’s burdens even if just a bit.
Some simple support needs that we all should provide for patients include:
- Helping them regain control of their lives. The need for treatments, side effects of chemotherapy like hair loss and speech impairment lead to higher levels of anxiety. Carers should make efforts to provide support and health care givers should be sensitive to the peculiar needs of each patient to feel good about their looks.
- The need to work: this is not the time for patients to be forced off their workplaces, employers should be willing to grant some allowances and help such patients to ease back into their workplace at a comfortable pace.
- The need to socialise: patients need a very healthy level of interaction with others and its important that they get adequate communication from their carers and family.
There are several other measures that can be taken to support and advocate for better living conditions for cancer patients, we should be ready to help our loved ones understand that we are able to love them and they also can love us in return even through such trying times. During these times, it is also important that family and friends of the patients do not lose social contact with their community while devoting all the time and energy to taking care of patients.
The support system required by patients involves a network that cuts across family, friends, neighbours and work places. As a patient, you must find the strength to voice your fears and share your thoughts with those who have devoted their time to taking care of your needs, the cancer does not affect you alone. This initiative by the Union for International Cancer Control, is one step out of many that can be taken to improve the lives of cancer patients #YesWeCan
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