Cancer survivorship is not glorious. No matter how rational and positive one is, getting diagnosed with cancer messes it all up.
The struggles of cancer can begin right after diagnosis or a few years down the road. Astonishingly, there are instances when the toll it takes on one’s life is after the treatment is complete.
Mental, physical, social, and financial are the main aspects of human life. And here is how a cancer diagnosis can upset each of them.
The Strain Cancer Survivors Face In The Various Aspects of Life
Here are the struggles of survivorship that most cannot fathom:
The most obvious way cancer affects an individual is physically. Medication, chemotherapy, and various treatments affect survivors for the long term, from which many never recover.
Some known problems are pain (caused by cancer), fatigue, hair loss, and the survivor experiencing hot flashes. But it does not end there. Numerous other problems, such as decreased bone health, sexual dysfunction and infertility, peripheral neuropathy, and more, are associated with cancer treatments.
There are several other late effects, too, that sprout from the effects of the treatment. Either way, these physical problems affect the other aspects of a cancer survivor’s life. This includes functional restrictions, damaged social life, family issues, and more.
The financial costs of cancer treatment are overwhelmingly high, with costs of the monthly medication and drugs often exceeding $100,000 on average. Opting for an advanced treatment means bearing higher costs. The expenses compared to the average income of a U.S. citizen do not paint a good picture.
There are various other out-of-pocket costs, such as traveling to the place of treatment. Medical insurance only covers a certain extent, and most patients feel it is not enough. The steep medical bills and other costs often result in poor-quality treatment. Instances of delayed treatments, lowering drug doses to cope with the costs, and so on aren’t uncommon.
This destroys all the financial aspirations of individuals, who are forced to rethink their future all over again. Now various programs, organizations, and foundations assist needy cancer survivors financially. Also, if the cause of the cancer is medical negligence, product liability, or someone else’s actions, survivors can claim damages.
That is through filing a lawsuit, the way that the victims of Camp Lejeune have. Close to a million have been affected by the water contaminated by toxic chemicals in the military base camp. Among the various life-threatening illnesses as a result of the contamination is cancer. This is the fundamental base for the Camp Lejeune toxic water lawsuit.
The Camp Lejeune crisis is one of the many instances where survivors have a possibility of claiming damages. With the help of law firms like TorHoerman Law, LLC, victims and their families can file a lawsuit. A victory in it grants them compensation for medical costs, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, and other grounds.
However, this is suitable for only a small percentage of cancer survivors. In most cases, cancer is a result of lifestyle or genetic mutations, so survivors have no scope to claim damages.
No matter its location in the body or the organ it targets, cancer significantly affects the mental health of the survivors. A cancer diagnosis often leads to depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses. Cancer survivorship brings about emotional struggles, too, so relationships are often tested.
The costs of the treatments and the resulting stress further aggravate the condition. Tragically, the effects of cancer treatment and these mental illnesses are similar (fatigue, loss of appetite, and the like). As a result, most survivors do not receive adequate mental care.
These mental illnesses, if left untreated, have devastating outcomes on the success of the treatment. Moreover, depressed cancer survivors are likely to avoid treatments, miss medical appointments, etc., which drastically reduces their survival rate.
Socially And Emotionally
All of the above issues collectively harm the emotional and social lives of survivors. Those that have recently undergone diagnosis are most affected. As a result, they largely struggle with their emotions, thoughts, and social anxiety. This leads them to avoid socializing, altering relationship dynamics, and visualizing their social identity negatively.
This further leads to feelings of loneliness and isolation, which worsen their mental condition. The news of a cancer diagnosis is already soul-destroying for the average family. And all this makes it difficult for it to cope with the changes that cancer survivorship brings.
Spiritualism Can Be The Answer
It is often considered that spiritualism helps one survive the hardest times of their life. Other than medication and treatment, healthcare providers and caregivers can also help cancer survivors by guiding them on the path of spirituality. Especially right after diagnosis.
Every survivor has their way of coping with their cancer diagnosis and the changes that follow. But caregivers and support groups help them push through. A lot more can be done, though, starting with trying to reduce the social stigma around cancer.