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People who are struggling with cancer have emotional needs as well as medical needs. In addition to being a physically challenging illness, cancer can also have a negative psychological impact on a person emotionally. A person diagnosed with cancer may experience a range of emotional reactions, such as distress, fear, anxiety and feelings of uncertainty. Although individuals' emotional needs are different and subjective, in general terms, emotional needs can be listed as follows:
One of the most important needs of people diagnosed with cancer is support. People undergoing treatment may need a supportive environment. People such as family members, friends, other cancer survivors and health professionals can provide support and morale.
Accessing information about cancer can help a patient feel more confident and in control during treatment and recovery. This is why it is important that people struggling with cancer have easy access to this information from their doctors, hospitals or cancer centers. The more people in treatment know about cancer, the more they know about their treatment, the more control they can take over their own health. Therefore, health professionals should use language that patients can understand when providing information about the disease.
Individuals struggling with cancer may need a safe environment in which to openly express their feelings. Some may find it helpful to talk to a therapist, while others may find it more helpful to talk to family members or friends.
Fighting cancer is a physically and emotionally demanding process. It is therefore important for people struggling with cancer to find things that motivate them. This can include returning to hobbies, spending time with people they love or setting another goal.
It is important for a person struggling with cancer to be respected and to be in an environment that helps them to maintain their self-esteem. This can mean providing the freedom needed to make their own decisions, express themselves and take care of themselves. Also, during cancer treatment, patients may need to be subject to many restrictions. It is important for patients to lead as normal a life as possible and to make their own decisions. Therefore, healthcare professionals and the people around the patient should respect their personal preferences and help them to live their own lives as much as possible.
Another emotional need of people fighting cancer is empathy. Empathy makes patients feel understood and supported. Therefore, it is important for family, friends and healthcare professionals to understand patients' feelings, listen to them and meet their needs.
Coping with Hopelessness
It is easy for people battling cancer to feel hopeless because of the seriousness of the disease. Therefore, health professionals, family and friends should encourage patients to think positively. They should create a positive environment that allows patients to look to the future with hope.