What is cancer
What is an Oncologist
A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. After a diagnosis is made, it is the oncologist role to explain the diagnosis and the meaning of the disease stage to your loved one. Discuss various treatment options; recommend the best course of treatment; deliver optimal care; and improve the quality of life both through curative therapy and palliative care with pain and symptom management.
Caring for our loved ones with cancer
What to expect after treatment
The main types of cancer treatment include:
- Radiation Therapy
- Targeted Therapy
- Hormone Therapy
- Stem Cell Transplant
- Precision Medicine
Conditions or symptoms to expect after the cancer treatment:
- Nausea accompanied by vomiting
- Loss of hair
- Fatigue / lethargy
- Changes in bowel movements
- Loss of control over bladder
- Problem in falling asleep
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss or weight gain
Caring for your loved one with cancer – tips for caregivers
How to help cope with the disease and its related symptoms:
- Know about the type of cancer your loved one is suffering from. This will help you understand your loved one better, which will, in turn, help you offer better care.
- Keep a detailed notebook. To document the symptoms your loved one who is suffering from after receiving treatment. This will help you avoid emergency situations. And also give you ample time to call the oncology team if required.
- Prepare meals as per the doctor’s advice. This will correct conditions such as anemia and other related problems.
- Be aware of changes in mood or behavior or emotions. Our loved one is more likely to suffer from depression. And other mental health conditions. Inform the oncology team if they find their loved one anxious, irritated or depressed.
- Look for changes in weight in your loved one. Report to the doctor any sudden or drastic change in the weight.
- Changes in bowel movement is a common side effect. Dietary changes can help with problems of constipation. Include more of fibrous foods if your loved one is able to tolerate them. If your loved one cannot eat, then use a laxative.
Taking care of yourself emotionally, physically, and personally, make you a better caregiver. Make time for yourself to recharge your batteries. Step back from your role of care giving and allow others to do the caregiving. Allow other caregivers, hospice, church volunteers, etc. to help out. This will help you interact with your loved one much better. In addition, as much as possible, continue your friendships, romantic relationships, work, and whatever hobbies refresh you. Investing in yourself will give you more energy to be truly there for your loved one.
That sort of balance is often difficult to maintain because of lack of time and complex emotions. During this time, take advantage of resources for support and find ways to cope with stress. Some ideas include the following:
- Talk with a friend, clergy member, or counselor to help you cope with your experience.
- Join an online or in-person support group.
- Write in a journal to express your feelings and document your journey.
- When people offer to help you or your loved one, say yes.
- Plan activities with your loved one that is unrelated to his or her cancer.
- Spend time with supportive friends, even if you have to scale back these activities while you juggle other responsibilities.
- Maintain your health through regular physical checkups.
- Exercise regularly.
- Listen to soothing or uplifting music.
- Read a good book.
- No time: take a warm soothing bath or shower, walk away for five minutes, etc.
For more information on cancer, check out this article in AgingCare.com