What is cancer?
Cancer occurs when there are an uncontrollable multiplication and division of cells in an area of the body. As the cells grow, they can then spread to other parts of the body. Common areas that this occurs is in the lungs, breasts, colon, stomach, liver, and throat. While there are many different causes and types of cancer, one thing that all forms have in common is their effect on the families involved.
Caring for someone who has cancer can be very difficult, especially when your loved one is having a hard time battling the disease. Understanding what cancer is, the common symptoms, and how caring for someone who has cancer can affect you as a whole is very important. It is also important to understand that having the following symptoms does not mean that cancer is present. Rather they are simply common indicators, combined with a lot of other factors like medical testing.
- Unexplained weight loss
- Coughing/Chest pain
- Bladder issues
- Unexplained bleeding or bruising
- Skin changes (new moles, lumps, sores)
- Breast changes (lumps, tenderness, redness)
- Bowel changes (constipation, diarrhoea, bloating)
- Severe fatigue
- Mouth/throat changes (sores, pain, bleeding)
Your Caring Role
As with any other caring role, caring for someone who has cancer can be difficult. Upon getting a cancer diagnosis, many people feel a mix of emotions. This also goes for their loved ones. When you are caring for someone that has an illness like cancer, there is sure to be a lot of emotions, stress, and difficulties that are faced. It is very important that carers are able to understand these feelings so that they can be healthier emotionally and mentally themselves, so they are better able to care for their loved ones.
Cancer can be a tricky and confusing disease to understand. In order to lessen the stress, try your best to educate yourself about your loved one’s specific type of cancer. This will give you peace of mind and help ease your stress slightly. In addition to this, sometimes being able to simply care for yourself can make a huge difference. Simply taking time out of the day the go for a walk, read a book, or meet up with some friends for a coffee can help lower stress levels.
Having a support system made up of people you can talk to and lean on can help immensely. Caring responsibilities often take a toll on the carer’s social life, which may cause social isolation and loneliness in the long run. Staying active in the community, joining carers groups, or even engaging with family and friends on social media are great ways to combat loneliness!
When caring for others it is sometimes easy to forget about caring for yourself as well. Amidst all of your responsibilities, it is essential that you take time to take care of your own physical, emotional, and mental health. Taking care of your loved ones is definitely important and of utmost importance in your life. However, taking care of yourself is also important so that you can be in the best possible condition to effectively take care of the person you love.
If you are caring for someone who has cancer and think that you may need a little bit of extra support, we Suffolk Carers Matter would be happy to help! We offer free support, advice, and guidance and even have a free counselling service available should you need it!
CALL us on 01284 333035 – open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturday-Sunday 10am-2pm.
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EMAIL us via our contact form here and we will get back to you.