What to say to someone with cancer?

By Ben Harris
Updated 2024-04-10 04:40:01 | Published 2018-12-11 11:31:57
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Someone with cancer

A cancer diagnosis has an immediate and profound impact on a person's life. People react to cancer in various ways, with some summoning the strength to fight for their quality of life, while others become paralyzed by fear. The diagnosis can be a shock not only for the patient but also for their loved ones, shattering joint plans for the future and altering the person's lifestyle.

Many people find it difficult to cope with this new reality, and both patients and family members may experience accumulated aggression as a natural reaction to the situation. Patients may feel shock, pain, despair, fear of the future, depression, and anger, while their loved ones may experience similar emotions, often accompanied by guilt after an outburst of aggression.

It's essential to understand that experiencing negative emotions in this situation is normal and should not be suppressed. To minimize the emergence of aggression, it's crucial to build family relationships that foster open communication and understanding. Feelings of hopelessness and despair may arise, and it's easy to feel that all efforts are futile when a loved one is seriously ill. However, neither withdrawing from the patient's life nor becoming completely immersed in their illness is the correct path.

Withdrawing from a loved one's life can lead to guilt, while being overly involved can result in overtaxation, fatigue, and eventually, a nervous breakdown. The key to supporting an oncology patient is to listen to them with empathy and understanding. They don't need expert advice or opinions but rather the opportunity to express their thoughts, fears, doubts, hopes, and everything on their mind.

Show your constant attention by holding their hand during conversations, maintaining eye contact, and being silent when needed. Encourage communication by asking questions and actively listening to their answers. Don't be afraid of the patient's tears or sadness; let them cry if they need to, and don't hide your own grief. Sharing emotions helps establish a deeper connection and provides essential support during this challenging time.

Navigating the emotional complexities of cancer requires patience, understanding, and open communication. By offering unwavering support and a listening ear, families can strengthen their bonds and help their loved ones cope with the challenges of cancer.

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