Sunday, January 16, 2011

Living With Cancer

This is the story old woman that has cancer on her body:

I'm living with cancer, not dying from it!" Jane Pike of Boston became, in her own words, a "cancer militant" when she herself was stricken. She decide to spread the word that cancer can be talked about - in fact, her message was.

"Please talk", She founded a group called Omega aimed at making it possible for cancer patients and their relatives to get together and do just that. There are many other such groups around the country, where members can share their feelings - whether happy or sad - and go on living productive lives as long as they possible can.

Throughout this article we have spoken about the emotional and psychological impact of cancer. Depending on the nature of the disease and the family and friends involved, the effect of cancer may be catasprophic or it may be an experience that, while never pleasant, can be dealt with and can even strengthen the people involved.

What to tell the patient and When....
How much - and when - a patient should be told is a long decision. More and more doctors are encouraging a candid approach with most patients but it's a tough question. Most of us can deal with a problem more easily if we what that problem is, and we may resent having the truth hidden from us.

Undoubtedly, there are some patients who are simply unable to deal with the knowledge that they have cancer. Confronted with the truth, they are in danger of becoming so depressed - perhaps even suicidal - that whatever time they have to live is quite lost. Another point is relevant here. There is an added danger that a patient who is not told the seriousness of his or her condition may not take the basic precaution of having period checkup after being successfully treated.

Other patient may need to be told the truth little by little. Still others, though, would much prefer to know the truth so that can have "quality time" and structure their lives accordingly.

A recent landmark television program. A time to die, filmed a series of patients in the Omega group who felt this way. "I set goals. I used to set big goals. Now I set small goals," said one. "My illness has shown me how to focus on the key road that is much more here and now," observed another. Because they can never be sure how much time is left (I can only say I'll be around tomorrow"), the patient who adjust best may be those who take their situation one day at a time - and try to anticipate the inevitable problems so that they can deal with them when they come up. They report that though they still feel moments that are "the pits," the happy times between seem happier.

"I'm just able to deal with reality," said a group member.

There is no black and white answer to the question of how much a cancer patient should know. We can say for certain, however, that those concerned must do all they can to prevent the patient from giving up all hope. There isn't cancer specialist in the world who can't tell you of patients diagnosed as terminally ill with only month to live at most, who are still living years and years later.
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