Today, on World Cancer Day, The Guide looks at how patients and their loved ones can approach the C-word with courage and concern at the same time
Pune based counsellor Arti Halbe who operates from Sahyadri Hospital believes that cancer proved to be a decider as after conquering it, she chose to become a counsellor to guide people like her with the right advice during pre and post cancer treatment.
Halbe elaborates, “As counsellors, we have to take care of the mental and emotional state of the patient as well as of their caretakers. Also, sometimes a cancer patient himself is unaware about the disease at the earliest stage of detection. At that time, what he needs the most is support from family members who should be properly enlightened about the ailment; otherwise they can end up really panicked and scared.”
The counsellor reveals a few ‘to-dos’ for patients to cope with cancer:
»Relatives should ensure that the patient leads a normal and happy life.
»Pray to any power you believe in to help keep one sail through hardships.
»Ignore negative comments. Be strong and tackle it!
»Stay busy. The illness should not prevent you from doing things you enjoy the most. Be occupied and do not thinkabout “Why me?”
»Read, play cards or video games, learn a musical instrument, and make the most of every second.
»Watch only good entertainers on television. Stay away from the depressing and violent sagas.
»Follow a strict diet. A good all-round food regime is a must to get the energy back.
»Cancer is incurable: It is totally untrue: Most types of cancers can be cured at their first or second stage and this is medically proven.
»You cannot see the symptoms of cancer: If not for all types, for many cancers, including breast, cervical, skin, oral and colorectal cancers, and some childhood cancers, early detection is possible.
»Cancer is contagious: This is a widely spread myth, especially amongst the suburban/low-profile sections of the society, and is completely baseless. Cancer CANNOT does not spread through touch or communicating with the infected person.
“75% of cancers are avoidable and 95% of them are curable. If detected in early stages i.e. in the first or second stage, it can be prevented. As oral cancer is the commonest (35%), a simple precaution of stopping tobacco intake can save your life! Cervical (cancer of uterus) is the most common amongst women (25%).
Hence, any doubtful medical emergency (bleeding) should not be treated as minor. Breast cancer is the widest seen type of cancer (20%), especially in urban areas. Regular check-ups and basic awareness is all it needs to prevent the disease. A primary concern for a cancer patient, who undergoes chemotherapy is hair loss.
Fearing it, many patients are hesitant to consider treatment. “Patients, especially, women are scared of chemotherapy because of its side effects. But they should understand that it’s an unavoidable aftereffect and has no way around. To make the treatments run easy on both mind and body, the patients should go under counselling sessions conducted by support groups.”
— Dr Shailesh Puntambekar, OncoSurgeon and Consultant Medical Director at Galaxy Care Laparoscopy Institute