From OHC

February 26, 2014

A diagnosis of cancer can mean many things. But first and foremost, it means a change in the patient’s life. It means medical procedures, possibly surgery, and some form of treatment.

For some, it might mean becoming very sick before getting better. For others, it means facing the idea that you’re not in control. Or it might mean having to face some very scary questions: is your life at risk, and how will you be able to take care of your loved ones if it is?

It also produces awkwardness between you and your loved ones. Friends and family want to help and be supportive. But this is a new, uncomfortable experience for them too. As a result, they don’t want to say something that will upset you, so they often say nothing at all.

This can cause feelings of loneliness; that no one truly understands what they are going through. Or confusion; is it normal to even have these new feelings? And all of these concerns can bring about overwhelming feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, stress, confusion, and depression.

In short, dealing with a cancer diagnosis is an experience that also attacks and taxes a patient’s emotional well-being.

Ironically, it is that very thing, your emotional well being, which can contribute to your ability to fight the disease. Cancer attacks on two fronts: the physical and the emotional, and both of those need to be bolstered. The challenge, then, is to help patients stay positive emotionally, at a time when the cancer is taking away their sense of control, and causing stress and depression.

To help patients feel better emotionally, OHC partners with a number of agencies that offer support services. Some of these include the Cancer Support Community, Cancer Family Care, American Cancer Society, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

These organizations can help restore a patient’s sense of well-being; the state of feeling happy, healthy, and protected.

The Cancer Support Community, for example, employs the use of group-based therapeutic communities to help patients. This is an evidence-based model that has been studied and proven to be effective for years.

The therapeutic group model lets cancer patients relate to each other. It allows them to form connections with others who are going through the same experiences, and gives them a sense of camaraderie. By providing a safe place to share with others, it also unburdens the patient of their concerns and reduces their stress.

The connections they form help patients understand that they’re not alone, and that their feelings are justified and understandable. The group experience helps patients draw strength from the other group members, giving strength to them emotionally so they can face their cancer fight with a positive attitude.

Fighting cancer is not only stressful to the patient, but it is also difficult for family and friends. The Cancer Support Community has groups for them too, allowing loved ones to share their experiences with others who are going through the same ordeal.

Fighting cancer is not a struggle that happens just on the physical front. It involves the whole person: from the body to the mind and emotions of every patient. It means those who have been newly diagnosed need to embrace the idea of facing the cancer head on, with a positive attitude and a sense of well-being.

The best way to do that is with the emotional support of loved ones, and of those who are fighting the same battle along-side you.

If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, ask your OHC physician about cancer-related support groups in your area. Or go to our Support Groups page to see a list of support groups that OHC is connected with, their descriptions, and contact information.

Cancer attacks both the body and the spirit, and it makes sense to seek support for both.

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