Support Groups Important in Cancer Treatment

Manila Bulletin, September 13, 2004 | Go to article overview

Support Groups Important in Cancer Treatment


Yaren Agustin was diagnosed with Burkitts lymphoma in 1995 when he was 13. He had undergone the difficult healing process: chemotherapy sessions, various treatments, losing his hair, to name a few. At a tender age, he never quite understood the reason behind all his suffering and pain.

Fortunately, Yaren was never alone in his fight against cancer. Throughout his struggle, his family and friends were beside him. While his body was restored by the drugs and treatment prescribed by his doctors, people who lovingly stood beside him nonetheless sustained his spirit.

Confronting the Big C

The initial stage that people diagnosed with cancer go through is denial. The mind refuses to entertain the word cancer because it is oftentimes equated with death.

Rather than accepting it, people diagnosed with cancer tend to succumb to anger, bargain for a slighter illness or wallow in desperation. "They get depressed or deny that they have the disease or they are angry or irritable," said Dr. Jig Mallen of the Riverside Medical Center in Bacolod City. But when the next stage, which is acceptance, comes and it could come the battle against cancer begins.

Confronting the Big C can be overwhelming for the patient not only physically but emotionally and spiritually as well. It is therefore important for cancer patients to have someone from whom they can draw strength and encouragement. According to Dr. Mallen, most cancer patients need a venue that could explain to them how to easily accept cancer, how to effectively fight the disease and how to properly manage it.

Doctor-patient relationship

Aside from the patients, the most significant participants in the fight against cancer are the doctors and oncologists. How doctors deal with their patients in the effective management of cancer has a tremendous impact on the patients attitude towards their illness. It is always comforting for a cancer patient to know that his oncologist is not only concerned with the treatment of his disease but is also reaching out to him in a personal way.

Doctors treat cancer by prescribing the proper medication and treatment. Medicine and science provide anchor to the needs of the body. Beyond these, it is still the doctors healing touch which can achieve more in enabling their patients survive the Big C.

"Taking care of patients with cancer is not only a science, but an art," said Dr. Ramon Severino of the East Avenue Medical Center.

Support group for cancer patients

Cancer patients are very vulnerable and it is during this lowest point in their lives when they would need all the help and support they could get. Doctors, however, admitted that they could not do all the work by themselves; they could not answer all the emotional and psychological needs of the patients. …

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Support Groups Important in Cancer Treatment
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