Cancer survivors have been increasing more and more in numbers and overall percentage. Thanks to more public awareness about cancer, preventive health check, early diagnosis and better treatment modalities.
As, we come across and interact with cancer survivors, we find that they face a host of physical, psychological, emotional, spiritual & social and economic effects, related to cancer or cancer treatment directly or indirectly. Some of these concerns decrease with time, but some symptoms like fatigue, aches, pains & sleep difficulties may persist up to 10 years post treatment or even lifelong. The fear of cancer coming back is always there in the mind of all patients. These patients live in distress, depression & anxiety.
To eliminate the fear, anxiety from the mind of a cancer survivor, the treating oncologist is the most important person. After treating the patient for 6- 12 months or more. Patient has already developed full faith in his doctor.
The treating oncologist should imbibe the confidence in his patient that now you are as normal as a any normal person. For, some patients, you might have to take the help of psychologist & psychological counselors.
The treating oncologist should give a detail treatment summary to the patient, with spiritual emphasis on possible, early or late side effects of any medication, treatment, various follow up visits to his clinic/hospital and investigations to be performed. Patient’s family physician should be explained about the nature of disease & treatment given to patient & advised to look for any signs of recurrence of disease and or any emotional disturbances .
Patient should be introduced in the various support groups of cancer survivors and persuaded to take active part in their activities. Various motivating and moral boosting seminars should be organized for such cancer survivor groups.
These patients should be encouraged to read book, related to success stories of cancer patients & books related to motivation aspect of cancer survivors. They should be persuaded to visit the doctor for regular follow up & relevant investigations. They should be encouraged to join back their job & get absorbed in their social circle, as early as possible.