Baggage Of Lung Cancer And Balm Of Counseling
The prevalence of lung cancer worldwide has increased by more than 25% between 2009 and 2019. This is due to ever increasing population and increased life expectancy on the overall population.
Counseling, an essential component of cancer care, is often overlooked
Lung cancer is amongst the world's most deadly killers. The impact of the disease reverberates across many generations. The survival rate of lung cancer patients has improved over the years with newer treatments; however, the average five-year survival rate of lung cancer remains below 20%. The doom and gloom of lung cancer is a sorry read for us. However, for the patients and survivors, it is soul-sapping at the very least.
The prevalence of lung cancer worldwide has increased by more than 25% between 2009 and 2019. This is due to ever increasing population and increased life expectancy on the overall population. Dr K Sivakumar, Medical Oncologist at Dharan Cancer Speciality Center (Salem), cautions "The increasing rate of lung cancer is dependent on the region, smoking habits, gender and socio-environmental status. Considering the trend of lung cancer prevalence, this is likely to continue to increase in number".
Medical Oncologist at Dharan Cancer Speciality Center (Salem)
Cancer treatment can be very expensive. In our country, it is a huge source of stress for people with cancer and their families. In addition to treatment costs, many people also have to rearrange their budgets, sometimes even cutting down on essential commodities. Dr. Harshvardhan Atreya, Consultant Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at Apollomedics Super Speciality Hospitals (Lucknow), points out that "For some people, the high cost of medical care stops them from completing their cancer treatment plan. This can not only put their health at risk but may lead to higher treatment costs in the future. We encourage patients and their families to openly talk and discuss about financial concerns with their doctors so that the doctors can provide additional guidance on the same".
Consultant Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at Apollomedics Super Speciality Hospitals (Lucknow)
Caregivers are usually relatives, partners, or close friends who have a significant personal relationship with the patient. They provide a wide range of assistance from helping them in basic routine tasks to providing financial and emotional support. Dr. Gautam Goyal (MD, DM - Medical Oncology; Fellowship ACORD, Australia), Lead Consultant - Medical & Hemato-Oncology at Max Super Speciality Hospital (Mohali) and Editor in Chief (Section - International Data) at Lung Cancer Consortium Asia, says "The burden of providing care for a long period takes a toll physically and emotionally on the family members also. This is because the caregivers tend to neglect their own needs on behalf of the patient. The doctors have to recognize and realize the impact of the disease on the family too"
Lead Consultant – Medical & Hemato-Oncology at Max Super Speciality Hospital (Mohali)
Counseling, an essential component of cancer care, is often overlooked. Patients do have emotional and social effects after a cancer diagnosis. This may include dealing with difficult emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, or anger, or managing the stress level. Cancer can also affect your family relationships. Sometimes, people find it difficult to express how they feel to their loved ones and suffer alone. It might also lead to role changes within the family as the patient is not able to fulfil the role you used to, even temporarily. During this time, it is paramount for the family members to speak and empathize with the patient.
There can be situations where both patient and the patient's family do not understand how bad the cancer diagnosis is. Therefore, they can be completely avoid talking about it with each other. Helping the patient and his or her loved ones communicate about the realities of the diagnosis and treatment is an important part of the counseling process.
There is a glimmer of hope at the end of tunnel. Each year, tens of thousands of people are cured of lung cancer. Patients with advanced lung cancer can live many years after diagnosis. The important thing to remember is that lung cancer is treatable at any stage. These treatments have been a boon to people with lung cancer to live a longer and happier life. It is necessary to remember that lung cancer is not only a smokers' disease. Anyone with lungs can end up with a lung cancer!
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