How Is An Oncology-Focused Counsellor Different From A Regular One?
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: