Caring for a cancer patient can be highly challenging and stressful because most of the attention is on the cancer patient and consequently the caregiver puts his or her life on hold. WHO estimates that 8% of the global population is dependent on others for care.
Caregivers are at greater risk for distress than patients and often complain about the lower Quality of Life which includes:
– Physical Problems: Sleeplessness, fatigue, poor immune functioning.
– Social Problems: Financial burden, work related stress, unsupportive friends and relatives.
– Emotional Problems: Anxiety, Depression, Guilt, Identity crisis.
The other problems includes: Relationship issues, problems of sharing the news with their children, intimacy and sexual matters post cancer treatment and many more.
The solution to all is to SPEAK OUT!
For all these reasons it’s imperative to ask for additional counselling for family caregivers. Sharing your feelings and emotions is the best way to come out of the fears. The cancer caregivers role changes in the family and becomes easier, by listening, speaking and implementing tools and resources advised from a professional counsellor. This is why psycho-oncological counselling has become an integral part of oncology that can provide a strong emotional support. Dr. Aphrodite Matsakis, a counselling psychologist states “As you may already know, post-traumatic stress disorder is extremely complex. Each client has a unique, perhaps virtually unbelievable, set of experiences, and an almost equally set of reactions to those experiences.”
So please don’t try to battle out the journey on your own. Don’t allow the stigma associated with speaking to a counsellor or psychologist get to you. It’s perfectly normal and effective to do so. Seeking professional help might just turn out to be much more beneficial for you and the cancer patient, than you can imagine. The CARER Program has taken this seriously and provided the opportunity for caregivers to schedule appointments with counsellors.