Caring for a Loved One with Cancer
You probably know someone who has been affected by cancer. You may even have a close friend or relative who is struggling with the disease. Moreover, you may be caring for a loved one with cancer. If you’re in the latter situation, you aren’t alone.
This year, medical experts expect to diagnose 1.7 million new cases based on the cancer incidence rate of 439.2 per 100,000 people . According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are over 15 million cancer survivors in the United States. The NIH studies indicate that the most common types of cancer in descending order are breast, lung and bronchus, prostate, colon and rectum, melanoma, bladder, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, kidney and renal pelvis, endometrial, leukemia, pancreatic, thyroid, and liver.
Hope is Here
While the number of new cases is expected to increase, the fusion of medicine, technology, and passionate investigators are working together to combat the disease through earlier diagnosis and more effective treatment options. There is hope for a cure to cancer in our lifetime.
Caring for a Loved One with Cancer
Caring for someone with cancer may feel overwhelming at first. Determining your role and the roles of others is an important first step to provide care. Your loved one will need physicians and surgeons to manage treatment, a nurse to take care of physical needs, a therapist/counselor for emotional support, a medical advocate to help navigate medical treatments, options, and insurance. If your loved one is going through chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery, he or she may need help managing meals, household cleaning, or caring for children.
A powerful role that you may choose to play is to coordinate care efforts. You can create schedules so that friends and family provide meals, run errands, do household chores, and spend time with your loved one. If your loved one has children, then helping set up a system for childcare will be very important.
Assisting your loved one by researching and understanding his or her condition and treatment options will take a huge burden off their shoulders. If this isn’t your strength, then perhaps a friend or relative is willing to help. Your loved one will also need someone to drive and accompany them to chemotherapy, radiation, and other medical treatment appointments.
Caring for the Caregiver
Whichever of these roles you can take on, it’s important that you take time for yourself without feeling guilty. You’ll need to fulfill your own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs to be able to take care of your loved one successfully.
Often caregivers don’t feel they can accept help from others, but sharing responsibilities is one of the best ways to help yourself continue to be an effective caregiver. Other family members may be able to offer some help with shopping or playing cards with your loved one. Welcome them with open arms!
A home care agency such as Expicare Nursing, Inc. that specializes in helping people with cancer and other major health concerns can be invaluable in providing your loved one with nursing care, transportation to medical appointments, personal care, errands, and performing household duties such as cooking, cleaning and laundry.
Owned and managed by highly qualified Registered Nurses, Expicare is a recognized leader of home health care in South Florida. For over three decades, Expicare has provided unparalleled home health care to thousands of patients throughout Palm Beach County. From post-surgery assistance to compassionate care for patients and families struggling with Alzheimer’s, Expicare provides highly skilled nurses and nursing assistants to care for your parents or loved ones. For more information, contact 561-736-1422, toll-free: 855-730-9895, or visit www.expicare.com.