Speciality Areas: Cancer and Palliative Care

Cancer Support

Being diagnosed with cancer is often a life-changing event. Some of the phases in which patients can struggle with include:

  • Diagnosis – making meaning and often the ‘why me’
  • Treatment – whether that is surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy or radiotherapy
  • End of treatment – often when the whole process catches up, and often patients state ‘the fireworks don’t go off’ to
  • Survivorship – processing everything that you will have gone through, feeling surreal and coming to terms with the long term effects of treatment. Often, this is the time to relearn your body again, as all the aches and pain will trigger fears of recurrence.

There will be ongoing concerns for many patients with regard to fears of recurrence, body image, fatigue, diet, and loss of libido, all of which may require processing and a form of ‘adjustment’. It is a difficult time, especially at the end of treatment, and when ‘normal life’ resumes, as often patients are faced with ‘you should be pleased’, it is all over. Managing all these feelings can be difficult and will require a level of assertiveness.

Depressed man sitting on the grass with his head in his hands

Palliative Care

Being told you are Palliative is one of the most challenging adjustments to make. Patients often assume this is the end of life, but it is absolutely not. Frequently, the image of how long a piece of string is used, as no one can really quantify life. With upcoming treatments, including immunotherapies, there is a significant change in life expectancy even with a palliative diagnosis. That said, it does not lessen the distress in any way. It requires a lot of emotional strength to think about your wishes in the form of Advance Care Planning, and doing practicalities such as making your will. Often, the ongoing elements of treatment, including palliative chemotherapy, can take a toll. It is more about Adapting, Adjusting and Planning at this stage whilst maintaining hope which is a very fine line to walk. However, no one needs to walk this walk alone. There are supportive services such as Clinical Nurse Specialists, Palliative Care Nurse Specialists and Clinical Psychologists.

You don’t have to go through life's struggles alone. Reach out today.

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