Cancer Patient’s Family and Support


When a person is diagnosed with cancer, attention is paid to this condition and the ways of how to offer vital help, neglecting the needs of other people – his or her family and friends. There are many concerns family members, or friends may arise in their intentions to support a cancer patient, but, usually, they forget that they could suffer from this condition in a specific way. This paper aims to discuss cancer patient family/friend support from the point of view of financial strain, psychological pressure, and emotional changes.

Context

In the United States, cancer influences society in a variety of ways. Annually, more than a million new cases of cancer are reported, and approximately half of them result in death. This disease is dangerous due to its unpredictability and the inability to offer a 100% guarantee for its treatment. Some people are able to survive or live a long life with cancer. In the majority of cases, families and friends should be ready to deal with harsh emotions and unpleasant outcomes.

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Such feelings as anger, sadness, and fear are developed because of the inability to control the disease (Cancer Institute NSW, 2015). There are two circles of trust cancer patients prefer to have in addition to healthcare providers – their families and friends (“Impacts of cancer on family, friends, and children,” n.d.). These relationships may be challenged by different things, including financial, psychological, and emotional problems.

Financial Strain

Not many families and friends are ready to accept a diagnosis of cancer because of the existing financial burden. According to Fenn et al. (2014), a team of researchers from the Yale School of Medicine and Nursing, financial stress is related to treatment costs and the inability to cover expenses with healthcare insurance. There are many families with different incomes, and when the time to pay for cancer-related therapies and medications comes, patients begin thinking about expected benefits and problems. The financial burden of cancer is hard to predict as it includes not only cancer outcomes but a number of psychosocial effects that determine the quality of life. Lack of insurance and additional treatment interventions touch patients, as well as their families and friends who try to support each other.

Psychological Pressure

In addition to financial challenges, patients, families, and friends are exposed to psychological problems. The team of Cancer Society in Finland focuses on the impacts of cancer on such groups of people like families, friends, and children (“Impacts of cancer on family, friends, and children,” n.d.). Their discussion helps understand that such a serious disease as cancer may affect human relations, family life, and friendship in a variety of ways, leading to depression, frustration, and hopelessness. Despite the necessity to receive support and understanding, some patients prefer to withdraw socially. In such situations, families and friends survive multiple emotions and cannot realize what they can do at the moment.

Emotional and Behavioral Change

Psychological stress usually results in emotional and behavioral changes, and cancer patients, as well as their relatives and friends, are vulnerable to new challenges. The researchers of the Cancer Institute NSW (2015) underline that social and emotional issues are hard for people with cancer to identify and discuss. Therefore, family and friend support is an integral factor in therapy. A patient may want to avoid some people and places, feel fearful or lost or increase the use of alcohol to deal with cancer. Supporters should promote regular observations and address experts in case of emergency.

Conclusion

Supporting cancer patients may negatively affect families and friends from the financial, psychological, and emotional perspectives. In addition to professional healthcare help, human support and understanding are required. Still, some families are not ready to deal with cancer because of their financial burden. Psychological counseling is required to cope with depression and anxiety. Behaviors and relationships in families and among friends are changed, proving the danger and unpredictability of cancer.

References

Cancer Institute NSW. (2015). The effects of cancer on social and emotional wellbeing. Web.

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Impacts of cancer on family, friends, and children. (n.d.) Web.

Fenn, K., Evans, S., McCorkle, R., DiGiovanna, M., Pusztai, L., … Chagpar, A. B. (2014). Impact of the financial burden of cancer on survivors’ quality of life. Journal of Oncology Practice, 10(5), 332-338. Web.

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