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A cancer diagnosis is just as hard on the family as on the patient

A cancer diagnosis is just as hard on the family as on the patient

When a loved one is diagnosed with cancer it becomes a life-altering experience that sends shockwaves through families and friendships. It’s a diagnosis that can feel overwhelming, frightening, and deeply unsettling. In such times, the uncertainty of what lies ahead, the emotional turmoil, and the sudden need for information and decisions can leave you feeling lost and vulnerable.

This article aims to provide guidance and support for individuals who find themselves facing this challenging reality. It is a roadmap for the complex journey that begins with a cancer diagnosis. We understand that no two cancer experiences are the same, and each person’s response to this diagnosis is unique. However, within this maze of emotions and decisions, there are common steps and strategies that can help you and your loved one navigate this challenging path with grace, resilience, and hope.

While a cancer diagnosis may be one of the most difficult challenges you and your loved one will face, it can also be a time of strength, bonding, and resilience. Together, we will delve into the myriad of ways you can provide love, support, and care to your loved one as they embark on their cancer journey, and find solace in the collective knowledge and experience of those who have walked this path before.

So, let us embark on this journey together, armed with knowledge, compassion, and a determination to offer the best possible care and support to our loved ones in their time of need.

Find a way to deal with your own emotions too

To show up for them in a supportive manner, actively acknowledge your emotions and process your feelings. Repeat this process of addressing your emotional needs as often as necessary. By doing so, you can avoid creating a sense of guilt around the fact that you’re suffering too.

Put yourself in their shoes

You can expect your loved one to experience a range of emotions, from sadness to anger and more. Try not to take it personally while they move through this process. What they’re going through can be incredibly challenging to navigate.

Prepare for change

It is so hard to see the ones we love suffer, but you need to prepare for what’s coming. Treatments and surgeries, depending on the type of cancer, cause physical changes. Try not to comment on their physical appearance and find ways to express how you appreciate who they are. Beyond all of this, support their treatment decisions.

Make plans

Don’t be afraid to make plans for the future. It’s good for a cancer patient to have something to aim for and look forward to.

Leave room for conversation or space for silence

Sometimes a light-hearted conversation or a funny story can make someone’s day. People going through treatments for cancer sometimes need a break from talking about the disease. That said, do not ignore uncomfortable topics or feelings either. Try to remember that the most important thing is not what you say – it’s that you’re there and willing to listen.

Offer practical help

Many people find it hard to ask for help. Help anyway. Just do it.

Who to call?

The Cancer Association of Namibia offers access to quality healthcare, cancer-related counselling to cancer patients, caregivers and their families, and parents or guardians of children living with cancer. Contact details are easily accessible online.

Issued by Sanlam Group Marketing and Communications Department


About The Author

Guest Contributor

A Guest Contributor is any of a number of experts who contribute articles and columns under their own respective names. They are regarded as authorities in their disciplines, and their work is usually published with limited editing only. They may also contribute to other publications. - Ed.