Recent figures released by the NHS in the UK suggest that nearly 25% of us will experience Cancer within our lifetimes. This is a terrible statistic but the true impact of Cancer reaches far beyond what many people think. Here at We Care Together, we feel it is vital that Cancer and the impacts it has on our lives must not be a taboo subject. It should be discussed and supported in a dignified, caring manner.
This short article looks at some of the impacts a Cancer diagnosis can have on the sufferer, their family and the longer-term challenges. The aim is to start conversations and allow people to gain a fuller understanding of what a loved one with Cancer may be going through.
Ongoing Health Issues
Whilst there is nothing better than a patient getting the “all clear”, it is important to understand that this is not the end of the journey. This terrible disease can leave in its wake some horrible side-effect. These range from blabber issues to the inability to perform sexually. A recent study by Macmillan showed over 350,000 Cancer survivors are living with chronic fatigue.
It is important to understand receiving the “all clear” does not necessarily equate to an end of health issues. This means even after a person is in remission they must make their health a primary focus. They need to eat well, exercise but also ensure they do not overdo it.
Mental Health Issues
It is not just the physical side of this disease that we must be conscious of. It is also the mental side. This is a landmark moment in many people’s lives where, often for the first time, they must contemplate their own mortality. It is common for sufferers and survivors to display symptoms of anxiety, depression and even signs of PTSD. It is a lot to take in and some people do not cope as well as others. Macmillan recently stated that over 240,000 people in the UK are struggling with mental health issues related to Cancer. This is also true for those who survive this disease with many experiencing “survivor’s guilt” – almost punishing themselves for being one of the lucky ones that overcome this terrible affliction.
It is vital to talk and support people from an emotional standpoint as well as the physical one. The mind is a wonderful but complex organ. It is often difficult to understand what is really going on in a loved-one’s mind, it is, therefore, important to seek professional help if you or a loved one is exhibiting signs of struggling with Cancer.
There is a hidden cost to cancer and figures from the NHS suggest over 30% of sufferers lost around £840 in monthly income when dealing with a Cancer diagnosis. There are also additional costs that add up. These could be for extra transport to treatment sessions, new comfortable clothing or wigs.
These impactful issues are rarely spoken about but can be a cause of additional stress which does not assist the treatment or recovery process. Macmillan or your local NHS support group is an excellent place to find out what financial support is available.
Family Strain Issues
Whilst the primary support will always be for the Cancer sufferer, it is vital to spare a thought for the family and close friends of that individual. They will also be experiencing anxiety, worry and concerns whilst their loved one is being treated. It is often that the spouse, children or other family members will rally around to offer help but this can take its toll on them both emotionally and physically.
It is vital to recognise this and take time for your self if you are caring for someone with Cancer. This is not selfish or unjust. It is necessary. You need to take breaks and focus on self-care so you can be ready to help fight with your loved one.
If you need support or information on living with a Cancer diagnosis we are happy to help and point you in the right direction of support groups, information sources and other help you can get in your time of need. You are not alone.
“If you or a loved one are in need of support, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at We Care Together Southampton. Our dedicated team is always here to provide the care and assistance you need. Visit our website at www.wecaretogethersouthampton.co.uk to learn more about our services. We’re here to help you every step of the way.”