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Nobody likes the C word. It leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. For many, it tastes of death. Cancer is the kind of topics most people would prefer to forget about. Unfortunately, as a little under 40% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, it’s a risk you can’t afford to take. Countless statistics seem to reveal trends when it comes to the most common types of cancer to the most vulnerable populations. For instance, Asian and Pacific Islander women have the lowest cancer mortality, with only 88.3 cases per 100,000 women. However, while scientists have identified interesting or meaningful clusters of data, we are far away from understanding and manager cancer.
Perhaps in the distant future cancer will be just as treatable as the common flu. You’ll only need to go to your doctor to be prescribed a few pills to wave goodbye to the big C. Unfortunately, science is not there yet. While it doesn’t mean that having cancer is a death penalty – it isn’t anymore as cancer survivors outnumber those who die from the disease –, it would be unfair to pretend that the medical body hasn’t already improved the available treatments. Indeed, science enables doctors to diagnose cancer in its earliest stages, giving patients the highest survival chance. Additionally, a variety of medications can help to target some of the most disruptive treatment complaints, such as nausea or pain. Of course, treatment has just yet become an enjoyable experience, but the equipment, the knowledge and the drugs offer smoother management for countless patients.
However, smooth doesn’t mean stress-free. If you were to ask patients about their day-to-day lives, many would gladly admit that they struggle to handle a tremendous amount of stress regarding their disease. As stress affects your immune system, it appears vital for the healthcare body to find the best approaches to help cancer patients relax as much as possible.
Stockpiling all the essentials
Cancer drugs come at a cost. Unfortunately, for more and more patients coming from a disadvantaged background, getting access to lifesaving medication is impossible because their health insurance doesn’t cover for the prescribed drugs. Even when the prescription is part of the health cover, the cost can still put the household through a lot of financial pressures. Therefore, doctors need to help their patients find not only the most suitable health insurance coverage for their situations but also to offer advice regarding their supply of oral chemotherapy. Additionally, charitable organizations are also providing dedicated support to help vulnerable patients get the best health care. As treatment regulations and state laws are still in the process of debating affordable cancer treatments, more and more good Samaritan health charities and health centers have considered the acquisition of additional professional equipment such as a medical fridge to store drugs and medications. A certified pharmacist can ensure the most common drugs are stored and checked regularly and help to find a solution to make treatments more accessible.
Being there to answer their questions
A cancer diagnostic sends a shock wave that destroys the everyday routine of your patient. Coping is not the most difficult part of their healing process. Not understand what it means is the worst. Indeed, many patients feel like they’re fighting an invisible monster they don’t know. The first step of accepting the diagnostic is to ask questions. As a doctor, you need to make yourself available. However, questions can arise in the middle of the night when your patients are awake and afraid. Offering an online chat for your oncology practice or a 24-hour call center can make a great deal of difference. Your patients can’t want to wait until their next appointment to understand what is going on with their body.
A good oncologist is not always the best interlocutor
People worry that cancer might change who they are. Indeed, going through treatment can mess up with their mood, their energy level, and even their overall identity. Am I still the same person now that I have cancer? That’s precisely why it’s vital for your patients to talk to a counselor or a therapist who can offer the emotional support they need. Cancer is a life-changing experience, and looking after the mind helps to manage the body.
Helping people to fuel their bodies
Fighting cancer is a fight of every day. The body needs plenty of nutrients to stay strong and recover your health. More importantly, cancer treatment typically causes a dramatic weight loss, which makes it even more difficult for the body to recover. A dedicated dietitian can offer advice and a tailored meal plan for each patient. During treatment, you need plenty of high-protein foods to repair the damage. However, dealing with side effects such as nausea and constipation can be tricky without expert knowledge!
Teaching people to dress for their bodies
Even at the best of times, most people can struggle with body confidence. However, when your body is unhealthy, and you feel it has let you down, body confidence becomes almost impossible. Cancer adds scars, puffiness, loose skin and other unpleasant marks to your body. In many cases, cancer can lead to the removal of the cancerous zone, from a mastectomy to the loss of a limb or a bone – through limb-salvage surgery. It changes your body and regaining your self-confidence is a challenging journey. Additionally, the drugs can also make the skin more vulnerable to acne outbreaks and rashes. Finding a stylist who can not only help people to reclaim their body but to dress for their new shape might seem like superficial pretension. But in reality, it’s the first step of making peace with the body.
Stop being ashamed
Chemotherapy is incredibly tough for cancer patients. Hair loss is a stressful experience as it affects the scalp but also the eyebrows and eyelashes too. Makeup doesn’t remove the unpleasantness of the treatment, but it helps people to rediscover their beauty and feel normal. A beautician or a makeup artist can transform your patients’ day dramatically.
It’s time for healthcare centers to think beyond cancer treatment and offer a full cancer management experience to their patients. Making the stress go away might not kill the cancer cells, but it can certainly give the immune system a better fighting chance.