Getting diagnosed with cancer can be devastating, both for the individual as well as his/her family members. The moment an individual is informed that he/she is suffering from cancer, a million questions arise in the minds of the patient and his/her loved ones– “How long do I have to live? How serious is my cancer? Is it going to spread? Has it already spread? Can it be treated? Is it going to be painful?”, and the list is just endless. These questions are usually answered by the team that works around the clock for each cancer patient. This team usually consists of the oncologist, nurses, diagnostic centres, caregivers, personal attendants and counsellors. With a major part of cancer care now being shifted to home-based care, this team now also comprises of cancer home care service providers.

In this team of people working to treat a cancer patient, the need for a counsellor is integral. Counsellors are professionals who are trained to provide emotional and psychological support to patients. But, there is a difference between a counsellor who is oncology-focused and a regular one. Regular counsellors are experienced in helping people understand and manage their feeling and emotions in their daily lives. They, being outsiders to a person’s life, are able to provide a broader view and help solve emotional and mental issues like anxiety, depression, guilt etc. However, an oncology-focused counsellor is trained to help cancer patients who are going through a plethora of emotions right from the time they are diagnosed until they are completely cancer-free and sometimes even after that.

Oncology-focussed counsellors help in the coping mechanism of patients suffering from the disease. Cancer patients are usually anxious and worried about the uncertainty of the disease. At the same time, the process of treatment also drains them out physically and mentally. Together, all this can be very exhausting for the patient. This is where an oncology-focused counsellor steps in to keep the patient going and motivating him/her till they are completely fine. A regular counsellor is inexperienced to understand what a cancer patient is going through at different stages of treatment whereas, a counsellor who is trained to help cancer patients understand it better.

Other aspects that an oncology-focused counsellor can help cancer patients with include:

  • Talking about managing relationships
  • Talking about intimacy with spouse
  • Speaking about how to handle children
  • Help manage family equations
  • Help family members come to terms with the situation
  • Sharing your concerns about any financial situations like financial strain, making a will, managing funds for further treatment etc.

Many people wonder what can counsellors do that the love and support of family and friends cannot. Well, the reason counsellors are preferred over and above the patient’s loved ones is because they are able to provide a neutral opinion and many a time, the patients feel it easy to speak to an outsider than a family member or a friend. Also, this kind of emotional and psychological support is not available with the other members of your healthcare team because their goal is to treat your body. The oncology-based counsellors are also trained to help the patients navigate the medical team from time to time.

A counsellor who is experienced in dealing with cancer patients is well aware of the dynamics of the disease, the treatment procedures, the psyche of the patient and his/her family members, the many uncertainties that the disease can bring over the course of its duration and is capable to support the patient through it all. You can think of an oncology-focused counsellor as a specialist whose job is specialised to help cancer patients sail through their journey.

Oncology-focussed counsellors are an integral part of our home-based oncology professionals. If you are looking for a counsellor to help you deal with cancer, choose an oncology-focused the counsellor from our team of oncology home care providers.