Involving Family in Cancer Treatment
There can be nothing more frightening than a diagnosis of cancer. It is a scary time in anyone’s life but a strong cancer care team can make you feel that you are not in the battle alone. No one can argue that the right support can make the battle against cancer much easier and ultimately more successful. But that support doesn’t just come through your medical team. Your personal support team – friends, family, and caregivers – is just as critical to helping you navigate the road of cancer treatment. And the right oncologist and treatment center will happily involve these important people in your treatment plan; in fact, they recommend it.
So how do you successfully involve your family in your cancer treatment in a way that is beneficial to you and still respectful of their time?
- First and foremost, it’s important that everyone who is involved in your care be on the same page in terms of the information about your medical status and plan for treatment. Your doctor should be comfortable with including your personal support team in appointments where details of your treatment are discussed. With everyone on the same page, your support team will know how best to care for you, what to expect following particular treatments, and when it’s appropriate to contact the doctor in light of any side-effects.
- Make a rotating schedule. You may need physical support following your treatment and it’s important to have a support team to turn to so that you can rest and reserve your strength. Of course, not one single person can be an effective caregiver because care of this kind can be physically tiring and emotionally draining. Consider putting together a rotating schedule of care that will provide you with what you need while allowing your caregivers to take breaks to recharge and care for their own matters.
- Provide your support team with access to informational resources. The internet is obviously a wealth of information about any topic, cancer included, but the sheer magnitude of the information can be overwhelming. Work with your doctor to provide your family and friends with easy-to-understand information that is appropriate to your specific diagnosis. Most cancer care centers will have books, CDs, and DVDs to provide your loved ones with more information about what to expect.
Having love and support from family and friends can make all the difference in the world when it comes to undergoing treatment for cancer. Do not hesitate to involve willing loved ones in your plan for getting healthy.