People who live with cancer have many health concerns including physical, psychological, and emotional factors. But patients, who have chronic cancer which cannot be cured, but need to take ongoing treatment for months or years should try to live a normal life. However, cancer is not the same as other chronic conditions, and indefinitely is not easy to live with cancer. But healthcare team can help to manage the challenges.
Cancer patients with long survival rates often have extended treatment to control cancer progression, manage advanced cancer and prevent recurrence of cancer. However, the type of treatment received for cancer depends upon several factors like the type of cancer, the location of cancer development, staging of cancer, spreading nature of cancer, available treatment options, age of the patient, prior treatment details, general health condition of the patient, patient’s personal preference.
Following are certain tips that can help a cancer patient to manage the disease in a better way and also maintain a good quality of life.
- The doctor usually develops a survivorship care plan for individual patients who are suffering from chronic cancer. The patient needs to follow the plan which provides the information on future follow-up schedule, repetition of cancer tests, potential side effects details of the prescribed treatment and improves overall health condition.
- The patient needs to consult with the healthcare team to get the information about the relieving side effects burden of the recommended treatment.
- Careful management of prescribing medications with the given instructions by the doctor will help to get the benefit of each of the medications.
- Cancer patients need to do all the follow-up tests so that any change in cancer progression can be well monitored and taken care of accordingly.
- Search for rehabilitation options like physical therapy, emotional counseling, nutritional planning, and pain management. These help patients to lead as independent and productive life as possible.
- Cancer patients need to follow a healthy lifestyle to establish good health. Cancer patients need to quit smoking, consume a limited amount of alcohol (depend upon the physician’s instruction), eating well, stress management, and stay physically active.
Coping with cancer
Cancer survivors often have mood swings like feeling angry, fear attack, anxiety, and depression. Even if the treatment is going well, then also cancer patients need to discuss their concerns with their doctors to minimize these symptoms. In case of a frequent psychological attack, the health care team may recommend the following resources to the patient for coping with cancer.
- Discuss the situation with a counselor to find out a better way to deal with the situation.
- Join an in-person or online support group
- Cancer organization arrange a support buddy
- Learning stress management and relaxation techniques like breathing exercise, yoga, meditation, etc.
Supportive care from caregivers
Tolerating ongoing treatment and living with cancer are not very easy tasks. Caregivers need to give focus on offering emotional and practical healing along with physical care to minimize the symptoms like sleep problems, fatigue, anxiety, and depression.