Our body is designed in a way that if not taken good care of, we tend to fall sick. But, this isn’t always true because sometimes, no matter how hard you work to stay healthy and fit, you may fall prey to an infection, a disease or a condition that may not be entirely your fault. One such disease is cancer– probably one of the most dreaded diseases of the new Millenium.

There has been an increase in the number of cancer cases across the globe in the past few years, some of which can be attributed to the fact that more people are choosing to get diagnosed early on and seek treatments. While there have been many new advances in the field and there continues to be a lot of research going on to find a cure, the life of a cancer patient anywhere in the world remains pretty similar – emotionally and physically exhausting!

A lot is written about the physical treatments of cancer patients and how new age treatment modalities like homecare services for cancer are set to make the life of cancer patients more comfortable, but there are many things people do not know about the emotional needs of a cancer patient. Cancer is a feared disease and people and families are often shattered by the news of themselves or a loved one getting diagnosed with it. Some common emotions to feel are fear, anxiety, worry, sadness, hopelessness etc. But, little is spoken about what a cancer patient really needs emotionally.

5 Things You Did Not Know About the Emotional Needs of Cancer Patients
  • They feel guilty to put their loved ones through this situation(emotionally, mentally, physically and financially)

When you are the reason for your loved one’s pain and suffering, you feel guilty, don’t you? The same happens even with a cancer patient. As a patient, he/she is usually upset about what has happened to him/her. But, they are often more guilty than anything to put their loved ones through an emotional, physical and financial stress due to their own condition.

These emotions are often running through a cancer patient’s mind. If you are a caregiver or have a loved one suffering from the disease, remember to assure them that you are there for them. Make them believe and with a conviction that they need not feel guilty about their condition. You can also choose to hire a cancer psychology expert who can help you or your loved one with this situation.

  • Are dealing with the loss of identity or a true sense of who they truly are

Going about their everyday routine can be difficult for a cancer patient whose life has been disrupted by the big C. The sense of acceptance is quite huge for cancer patients who, at times, can lose a sense of their identity and who they are. Questions like ‘why me?’, ‘why did my body give up on me?’, ‘who am I now with this disease?’ can commonly arise in their minds. A patient often undergoes a myriad of different emotions and begins to question his/her purpose in life and wonders ‘what use am I to this world now?’

If you or your loved one feels this way, believe us when we say this – cancer cannot change who you have been and who you are today. Though you may find it hard to go to work on somedays, or have noticed an obvious change in how people perceive or behave with you, it doesn’t mean you have changed or have to change.
No matter what changes your body undergoes physically, you are as attractive, as purposeful you were before you were diagnosed with cancer. Also, you must not lose sight of what your life goals are and continue to be who you are while you undergo your treatment.

  • They have pent up anger- against God, their maker etc.

You will often find cancer patients sympathising with themselves or you may want to sympathise with a patient or a loved one who is going through this condition. But, each patient has an angry phase during his/her cancer journey when they invariably ask or wonder ‘why me?’ Many patients often have this question in their minds even if they don’t discuss it with people. This anger usually arises due to anxiety, fear of the unknown, frustration, and helplessness.
Well, it is perfectly normal to feel these emotions and there is not a single reason to hide it from those you love. Keeping such feelings of anger and not sharing or discussing can cause you more mental trauma than if you shared it with someone. Communicating or finding comfort with someone and sharing your feelings will help reduce this anger towards the whole situation and help in the acceptance of the facts. Find a registered psychologist from your oncology home care providers to help you deal with this emotional turmoil

  • Suffer from loneliness

It is very common to see cancer patients feeling lonely, but they will not let this be known to others. A cancer diagnosis is life-changing not just for the patient but also to those around him/her. In fact, many people get scared or petrified to learn about their friends/colleagues being diagnosed with cancer so much so that they refused to call or speak with them. This affects the relationships and friendships for cancer patients and is the primary reason for most of them feeling lonely.

Apart from this, other reasons that can make cancer patients feel lonely are:

  • Lack of energy or inclination to take part in some activity or event as they could earlier
  • The insecurity of not being treated well
  • Some people do not know what to say or speak to a cancer patient about and end up distancing themselves from them
  • It is difficult to go to work and perform tasks like you used to
  • You feel you have to undergo treatments and painful procedures whereas, the rest of the world is carrying on with their lives
The reasons can be many and many a time, a cancer patient just feels that he/she is not being understood enough and this is enough to cause loneliness to them or them feeling isolated.
  • Depression

Many cancer patients whose loneliness is not addressed in time can fall prey to depression. This is another emotional turmoil that cancer patients do not speak about. The pent up feelings, the sadness, the compromise that they make with their situation, all together adds up to depression and sadness.

If you are a cancer patient and feel the need to speak or share your feelings, find a confidant in your loved one or opt for volunteers from social groups who can visit your home and provide emotional counselling for cancer patients. If your loved one is suffering from cancer, make sure you listen to them share their thoughts and feelings. Providing this kind of emotional support to a cancer patient goes a long way in motivating them, making them positive about life and beating the disease too.

If you are a cancer patient yourself, you must know that you are not alone in your journey. There are millions like you across the world and are going through the same things you are– you are not alone! If your loved one is suffering from the disease, be there for them in person, mentally and emotionally because they need your support to sail through these rough waters to calmer seas of healing and recovery.