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A cancer diagnosis can turn the life of cancer sufferers and their loved ones upside down. There are ways that can be used to support a person you love who is affected by the disease and to help his/her well-being and quality of life.
A cancer diagnosis also involves a range of emotions that can paralyze the sufferer and greatly affect his/her loved ones. The immediate family is often affected by a wave of sadness, uncertainty, and helplessness. The impact is also sometimes felt by friends and colleagues. Extended family and friends play a significant role in accompanying and supporting the person affected by cancer.
Emotional support can be shown in various ways:
Over and above the emotional aspect, which is a primary area of intervention, it is possible to offer support to a person affected by cancer in much more tangible forms. For example, you can:
On a day-to-day basis, you can:
However, it is important to respect the wishes of the affected person. He/she will want to feel free to accept or decline your offer for support. Even if this may seem difficult, it is important not to be tempted to take over the situation, unless the person clearly indicates that that is his/her wish.
At times, hasty offers of support can cause the opposite effect than was hoped for. This is called "negative support". Here are a few examples of attitudes to watch out for:
Fear of not doing the right thing mustn't deter you from offering your help to the affected person. You simply have to be able to adapt to the needs the person expresses.
Loved ones of the person affected by cancer must also stay attentive to their own psychological balance in order not to break down. Here are a few points to remember:
Supporting someone who has cancer can take on the appearance of an obstacle course that is better dealt with as a team. In this perspective, communication within the team is crucial in order to cross the finish line with a victory! Remember that you can also count on a team member that is very knowledgeable about health and medication—your pharmacist!
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