If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, it’s important to maintain a support network of friends and family, but discussing your illness can be awkward and uncomfortable. How do you decide whom to tell and what to tell them?
Sharing Your Cancer Diagnosis
Your situation is unique. How and when you inform loved ones is up to you, not some arbitrary timetable. Take time to explore your own thoughts and emotions, giving yourself permission to experience them honestly.
Once you’re ready to start telling others, make a list of those you want to talk to in person. This group will most likely include your spouse or significant other along with other family members, followed by close friends. You may want to let these people break the news to more casual acquaintances.
If you work, not everyone in the office has to have the same level of information. You should tell your supervisor and human resources manager, since treatment will probably affect your work schedule. With co-workers, you might want to let them know with a general email or statement and then share details individually as you see fit.
Handling the Reactions
Most people will offer assistance, so be prepared with an answer. If you do want help, give them specific suggestions.
Sometimes people make inappropriate or thoughtless comments. Keep in mind that such behavior stems from their own discomfort or insecurities and shouldn’t be taken personally.
Personally Tailored Immunotherapy for Cancer Programs
If a loved one receives a diagnosis of cancer, you want to be at their side offering care and assistance. Unfortunately, in many cases the realities of life may prevent that. You can still be a source of support when you follow these long-distance cancer caregiver tips.
Providing Effective Long-Distance Cancer Care
Contact the hospital discharge planner to coordinate the patient’s return to home.
Arrange for a home health aide to assist the patient until permanent plans are settled. An aide is also a good option to fill in the gaps or provide other caregivers with a break.
Create a network of friends and family members who can help, and set up a phone tree for quick and efficient communication.
Keep a bag at the ready packed with toiletries and clothes so you’re ready to travel at short notice.
Consider the distance to be traveled and whether ground or air is your better option.
If you have children or pets, have a contingency plan in place regarding their care in your absence.
Talk to your boss and co-workers about your situation. You may be able to continue your work offsite, but review your workload and deadlines in case someone else needs to step in for you.
What is the Issels® Difference?
At Issels®, our immunotherapy for cancer treatments are personally designed to meet each patient’s individual needs. Visit our blog for more cancer caregiver tips and information about our cutting-edge non-toxic therapies, including cancer vaccines and LAK cells.
Whether patients undergo traditional or alternative cancer treatments, there may come a time when further care requires a stay in the hospital. Even though the patients are surrounded by doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers, they benefit from continued support from their personal caregivers.
Actively participate in the patient’s health care team. As a close friend or family member, you can provide valuable information to assist the medical professionals in deciding on the proper care.
Establish a relationship with the patient’s nurses. They are on the front lines of patient care, and they can help you understand treatments and procedures while offering support and information.
Consult with a hospital social worker or case manager. They can help you stay on top of administrative details such as insurance matters, coordination of care between specialists and support resources.
Develop an organized information management system. The patient relies on you to handle tasks like filling prescriptions, scheduling appointments and contacting family and friends. Develop a simple method to keep documents and other necessary information organized and easily accessible.
Alternative cancer treatments at Issels® are available on either an outpatient or inpatient basis. If you or a loved one is dealing with cancer, contact us today for more information about our personalized protocols such as vaccines and immunotherapy for cancer treatment.
Young adulthood is an exciting time of establishing independence, starting a career and finding romance. Becoming a caregiver for a parent with cancer is a major responsibility that may curtail some of these activities, but it can also strengthen your familial bond.
Here are some tips for finding balance between your caregiver role and your personal life.
Set aside time when you can sit down and talk to your parent without being rushed or interrupted. Discuss their medical wishes, including possible alternative cancer treatments. Establish plans for financial management, care visits and any other pertinent issues.
After the discussion, use the information to create a master task list. Enlist the support of siblings, family members and close friends to help out where needed.
Schedule a meeting with your parent’s health care team to get the facts about your parent’s illness. He or she should be present as well to approve release of protected medical information.
Make sure your contact information is kept in your parent’s file. You should also keep a list of doctors, pharmacists and anyone else involved in your parent’s treatment.
Don’t feel obligated to give up your personal life. Spending time with friends and participating in your favorite activities reduces your stress level, allowing you to be a better caregiver.
Join a support group to get encouragement and advice from others who are or have been in your shoes.
The non-toxic alternative cancer treatments at Issels® focus on harnessing the body’s natural immune response to fight cancer. If you, your parent or another loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, contact us for more information.
While researchers continue to make progress with improvements in cancer treatments, it’s often financially prohibitive for patients to make use of them. This past January, Tennessee took a step toward joining 40 other states and the District of Columbia in making it easier for patients to get the most appropriate treatment available.
Senator Bill Ketron and Representative William Lamberth jointly introduced the Cancer Treatment Fairness Act in the state Senate and House. If passed, the legislation would equalize costs between traditional and newer cancer treatments.
The changing form of cancer treatments
Traditional treatments, which are usually administered via IV or injection, generally fall under regular health care benefits. As a result, patients are charged nominal co-pay or nothing at all.
Newer treatments, such as gene-targeted therapies, block the growth and spread of cancerous cells by interfering with specific molecules needed for tumor growth and progression. They also have the benefit of fewer side effects. Since they come in pill form, they are placed under a health care plan’s pharmacy coverage. The high out-of-pocket costs can force patients to discontinue treatment, even if it’s effective.
Why the Fairness Act is needed now
Access to oral medications will become even more important, as more than 25 percent of treatments in the works are in pill form. In addition to lower health care costs, oral cancer treatments have been shown to have a positive effect on patients’ quality of life.
Issels® has long been a leader in the use of integrative immunotherapy treatments to stimulate the body’s natural immune response. Contact us for more information about our special testing methods and innovative personalized therapies.
Being a caregiver for a loved one with cancer is one of the more stressful, yet also one of the more rewarding roles you will ever perform. You are called on to provide both physical and emotional assistance, but at the same time it’s important that you maintain your own strength and positive frame of mind.
Using these five valuable tips can change your life and that of your loved one.
Don’t be afraid to talk about the future.
You may be reluctant to look ahead, but talking about the future takes your minds off present difficulties and helps maintain an atmosphere of hope.
Be present and interact during clinic visits.
Whether your loved one is receiving non-toxic immunotherapy or more conventional treatment, education and knowledge makes you better equipped to give meaningful support.
Encourage your loved one to follow an everyday routine.
Cancer patients can easily feel isolated, so engaging in regular activities as much as possible gives them a degree of comfort and stability.
Enlist help from friends and family.
No matter how strong you are, you can’t do it alone. Talk to others about help with specific tasks or even taking over for a day to give you a break.
Make time for yourself.
Plan regular outlets for stress such as exercise, yoga and meditation, or dinner with friends. Caregiver support groups can also be immensely helpful.
As you help your loved one to seek out cancer treatment options consider that our Issels® non-toxic immunotherapy protocols have fewer side effects, allowing patients to have a greater quality of life during treatment. Contact us to learn more about our individualized immune-oncology programs.