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Disease Prevention

Tips To Help You and Your Loved Ones Deal With Cancer

For every person in the world who suffers from the devastating effects of cancer there is a loved one who is also suffering. Every day can be difficult. Oftentimes it can be a lonely and depressing period for the patient and the caregiver as well.

Below are five steps developed by the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) to help you assist a loved one with cancer:

1. Be open with your fears and anxieties about the disease — It is common the patient and the caregiver are frightened by a cancer diagnosis. That is why it is important both of you sit down and discuss your fears and concerns up front. By being honest, you will be able to support each other as the treatment progresses.

2. Assist in treatment decisions — It is important the supporting caregiver and the patient face the difficult decisions about diagnosis and treatment together. If possible, both should attend the meetings with the doctor where treatment decisions will be discussed. It may help to decrease your anxieties about the treatments and help you both understand any side effects.

3. Provide a comfortable environment for the cancer patient — By paying attention to the details of comfort for your loved one, you will help them have to deal with one less item on their emotional plate.

4. Maintain a balance for yourself — It is important you and the person you care for continue to take time for the usual day-to-day activities. This will help you feel less overwhelmed and keep a healthy life balance.

5. Don't be afraid to seek the support of others — People don't need to face cancer by themselves. Seek the support of other family members and friends, other cancer patients, religious help, cancer support groups, doctors, and mental health professionals.

"By following these steps and facing cancer together it can strengthen everything that is good in a relationship," said Franklin Salisbury, president of NFCR. "Providing a supportive environment helps the patient's and family's ability to deal with the crisis, promotes mutual support and helps to sustain relationships."

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