(KUTV) How can you deal with the impact a cancer diagnosis has on the whole family? Jilynne Hafen, a Social Worker at the Intermountain Southwest Cancer Center in St. George helps answer how cancer can cause psycho-social issues.
What impact can cancer have on a family?
Cancer is a bit like a tsunami. Because the diagnosis of cancer, like the tsunami, can seem so big, family members are often effected similarly to the patient. Their loved one has been diagnosed with a frightening illness and suddenly their own environment is different and their future seems unsure.
- It is very important to be mindful of the children
What tips can you give us if a family member has cancer?
- a. First of all, listen.
- b. Honesty is the best policy
- c. Allow yourselves and loved ones the opportunity to grieve (internal feelings regarding an event), and then mourn (the outward expressions of our feelings). Grieving and mourning are natural processes.
- We do not want to bottle up those feelings.
- Do not try to pressure ourselves or our loved ones to think or believe “everything is fine”.
- Be more than the cancer.
- It is important, however, to find time, even if it is only a few moments each day, to do the things you enjoy.
- It is important to remember that even when treatment is finished, and a person “looks normal” and their hair has grown back, your loved one is still healing, emotionally and physically.
- Many of the patients I see in my office are actually finished with treatment, but are trying to find the “new me” as they may have a different body, perspective on life, and really are trying to still heal.
- Very often they feel pressure from loved ones, coworkers, etc., to “get back to normal”.