Emotional Care: The Overlooked Element in the Cancer Pathway
When a cancer diagnosis impacts your life, it can take its toll on every part of your life. It is natural to first on the physical effects of the disease, and on finding the best medical team is usually your priority. But anyone who has survived or is living with cancer knows the physical effects of the disease are only part of the overall ravages of its impact. Those who work with cancer patients know the emotional aspects of this devastating disease also need to be acknowledged.
Medical professionals have long known the importance of providing emotional support to their patients with cancer diagnoses. Today’s medical teams have also begun to take note of the need for mental health services as part of the holistic scope of their approach to patient care.
Some of the emotional aspects of a cancer diagnosis include:
Anxiety – it is logical to be afraid or concerned about what cancer has done or will do to your body. You may wonder how it will affect your mobility and endurance. How long you may be able to do your job? You may justifiably fear the financial impact of paying for medical care. Hearing you have cancer will also lead to fear you could die too soon.
Depression – Cancer takes the body hostage; without warning. Physical changes occur to your body that is out of your control, and you may feel like a prisoner of the disease. This can lead to feelings of sadness and powerlessness. It is normal for you to cry at times; some days may be full of sadness.
In addition to these emotional challenges, cancer patients will also see the disease’s effects on their families. Family members of cancer patients often face these same emotions and need help to deal with them.
Many cancer patients want to take an assertive approach to their disease and manage it by themselves. But it’s important to sometimes look inwardly and take their emotional “temperature”. When you need help, it’s essential for you to reach out. If you or a family is impacted, it is very important to seek the assistance of a mental health counselor or a clergy member.
These trained professionals can make a palpable difference in a cancer patient’s emotional ability to walk through this season of their life in the best way. They can also help your family to support you and to deal with their feelings about your prognosis.
If you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis, you may benefit from treatment in a multidisciplinary center such as the one described on the Save the Brain Worldwide website. There you can find information about the importance of consulting a team of physicians who can each concentrate on their medical specialty and combine their efforts to provide the best overall medical plan to any cancer patient. The website also addresses explicitly the possibility of a diagnosis of brain cancer. It describes the best medical approaches to this type of cancer and explores the role of whole brain radiation.