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Recently Diagnosed with Cancer?

Cancer  effects  relationships, family life, and friendships. Sometimes the illness brings people closer; sometimes it creates distance.The impact of the cancer is subject to the type of cancer,who is sick in the family,his or her age,the age of the children, and a multitude of other factors that we will further discuss.

Cancer and loved ones

Learning that you have  Cancer is frightening and tormenting. Fear is a natural response when you are faced with an unknown and serious illness like cancer.

After the initial shock there are many questions in your mind: Why it is happening to me?  what to do next? What if I die?

It is a comfort to know that  due to the latest treatment methods, recovering from the disease is increasingly possible, or at least the symptoms caused by cancer can be treated and the progression of the disease slowed down.

Fear is a natural response when you are faced with an unknown and serious illness. It affects not only yourself as a cancer sufferer but also your family and others close to you. You and your loved ones need plenty of information and support.

Everyone will experiences the illness in his or her own way. However, being diagnosed with cancer often initially brings on a psychological crisis, the different stages of which include:

  • Initial shock: everything feels unreal. This stage can include feelings of shock, restlessness, despair and sometimes denial.

  • Reaction stage: when you start to understand what has happened and to react to it. All sorts of ‘why’ questions preoccupy and you look for what was to blame. This is often a time of emotional turmoil and can include depression, loss of appetite and insomnia.

  • Dealing with the crisis: you start to process the issue mentally, either consciously or unconsciously. Now the real work starts.Feelings of torment and depression start to ease. You find coping strategies that protect you and help you manage.

  • Reorienting: by accepting your illness you begin to adapt to the situation and learn to live with it.

Many people find that getting information, thinking and especially talking  help. Your first reaction to being ill may be fear, or you may try to rationalize the situation. Then again it may seem more natural to keep it in and deal with it by being active. For some, their belief in a higher being is a great help and source of strength. If your own staying power to cope falters, it is a good idea to ask for help from someone close to you, from the nursing staff treating you or from your regional cancer association.

Not everyone responds to his or her illness in the same way. The situation of everyone who has cancer is distinctive. There are many stages to the disease, its detection and treatment. You can get more information about your illness and your treatment primarily from your doctor and other medical staff. You can find general information about cancer here and about treatment here.

 

Telling your loved ones that you have cancer

How should you tell those close to you that you have cancer? How should you talk about it to your children, parents and friends? Questions like these are often uppermost in your mind at the onset of illness. Talking about it is not easy.

There is no right or wrong way to talk about having cancer. There’s no need for stock answers at a time when as a cancer patient your thoughts are all in a muddle. Some people find  they want to talk about it right away, others only when they’ve had a chance to think about it. Keeping things to yourself may feel the best and easiest approach, but you should also think  about whether you can seek help and comfort from those close to you.

Don’t worry in advance about how they will react. When it comes to cancer, people respond differently.

How to tell children about cancer?

Parents with cancer have to decide at what point they will talk about their illness to their children. It is usually easier to talk to a child once one’s own initial shock has subsided. But it is good to tell a child about your illness at an early stage. This gives the child more time to adjust to the situation gradually.

It is important to talk to a child about cancer objectively and honestly, and bearing in mind the child’s age and level of development. You can’t keep cancer a secret, as children will anyway sense the change of atmosphere.

Children of different ages react differently to a family member having cancer.  Their initial response may vacillate between crying and indifference, but they will in any case feel worried and frightened. This may be evident from eating disorders, sleeplessness or problems at school.

Children need support and togetherness, and should not be kept at a distance from the person who is ill. The most important thing is to show that they are taken care of regardless of the situation. They should be reassured that their parent’s or sibling’s illness is not their fault. It is also important to ensure that children or young people get sufficient support and scope to unburden themselves emotionally.

It is good if in addition to their parents, children also have a safe adult who they can rely on when the situation demands. It is also important to inform other adults, such as day care staff or a teacher at school, who have dealings with the child about your or a loved one’s illness. With teenagers, one should ask their permission before telling any adults who have dealings with them about the illness.

For an adolescents, a loved one’s illness can be especially difficult, as the family crisis coincides with big changes in their development. They are preoccupied with thoughts about their sexuality, values, questions about the hereditariness of the disease, death, and so on. A young person’s reactions to a parent’s illness may be extreme, involving rage, feeling ashamed of the parent or by closing up. Despite this, with a young person it is important to talk about the illness openly and honestly.

If a child becomes ill

For parents, having a child diagnosed with cancer is a devastating experience. It often prompts feelings of guilt, even though there is nothing they could have done to prevent the illness. It is important to try to help the child live as normal and varied life as possible despite the illness.

check this link for more information.Children with Cancer: A Guide for Parents

Friends

Friends give support during illness. They can help you to stay positive and strong. The one who has fallen ill can talk honestly to his or her friends. Some people who have cancer find that their circle of friends changes during the illness. This may be for a variety of reasons. Some friends may stop being in touch because they don’t know what they should say to someone with cancer and are unable to face them. Or then the person who is ill may withdraw socially. Then again, it may be due to anxiety but also physical factors, if the illness and its treatment interfere with your normal life. On the other hand, having a severe illness can alter your values and view of life, and so your friendships may also alter.