Introduction Fighting through a traumatic obstacle can refrain a person from living life to the fullest. What most people do not realize are the effects that the sickness has on those closest to them; especially cancer. The impact that cancer has on the family is almost as detrimental as the impact it has on the patient.
Cancer is a disease that targets a single body but in the end destroys an entire family. In what ways does cancer affect patients’ family members? In the same way cancer patients are fighting growing cancerogenic cells and tumors, the people supporting them are fighting physical, financial, psychological, and emotional sickness due to the diagnosis of cancer of a loved one. Physical Effects of the Caregiver Family members alter to the patient’s primary caregiver which results in their day-to-day activities that were executed on a routined basis and relationship to modify. Relatives that have given care to their unwell family member before the diagnosis have become accustomed to it, but now give care at a more urgent altitude which is at a much more laborious position. Being the caretaker for an ill family member with malignant growth in cells can vary from fourteen to twenty-four months, yet the length of time is determined on the patient’s status of health (I?ycki and Wo?niak). A partner or other relative will have to takeover majority of the obligations (“Family Life”) such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, picking up an extra job, and general work inside and outside of the house (“Caring for the Caregiver” 5). All of these new found responsibilities accumulates in the family because if help is needed the caregiver will abstain from communicating it to the patient since that individual already has to worry about their rapid health decline ( I?ycki and Wo?niak).Being the person that keeps everyone in the loop of treatment can also cause physical and mental pressure such as tiredness, weak immune system, sleep malfunction, slow healing of wounds, higher blood pressure, changes in appetite, weight loss, weight gain, headaches, anxiety, and depression (“When someone You Love Is Being Treated With Cancer” 16).
Relaying vital information also means not just speaking on the behalf of the patient but also having to notify the well being of the other members of the family ( “Family Life”). Since some of the care will happen at home, family members conduct medical procedures similar to doctors making the patient the main focus on whatever is concerning. Caregivers can have their own health issues as well that they are battling which they have to balance in order to ensure that they are able to give care to their loved one ( I?ycki and Wo?niak).Family demeanor at a place of business and educational learning facilities leads towards a harmful path while there is a lack of communication thus affecting the family dynamics.
Individual differentiation could be brought about in a manner of following strict formats and revoke assistance from people not in the family, or interdependence can also be attained by means of trying to strive through the struggles from each distinct member of the family (I?ycki and Wo?niak). Approximately sixty percent of family members are said to not have an outside life because they give up a plurality of their being to caregiving to the ill patient (Basra, Finlay,,Golics, and Salek ). Just as the patient needs rest in order to maintain health, the caregiver must also obtain enough sleep and relaxation for himself or herself or they will be incapable of playing the role as the primary caregiver any longer and there will be an increased number of sick individuals to rehabilitate back to health (I?ycki and Wo?niak).Supporting an ill relative diagnosed with cancer is not as efficient and can have higher levels of complications (“When someone You Love Is Being Treated With Cancer” 37). The process of caregiving signifies the ability of asking for help from friends of the family and immediate family ( I?ycki and Wo?niak).
The impact of patients’ chronic disease on family quality of life, according to an experience from 26 specialties, “sixty-one percent of family members support their other family members. Sixty-two percent of caregivers are involved in medical processes and family relationships are affected. Fifty- two percent of caregivers go to work and study for school assessments. Fourteen percent of family members do not have good time management skills and do not have time to plan for other things.
Sixty-seven percent of family members sleep and health are altered because of diagnosis. Ninety-one percent of family members cannot return to the daily activities once the patient has returned back to health or has passed” (Basra, Finlay,,Golics, and Salek).Financial Problems Patient care can be extremely high-priced and members of family have to provide for all medical methods and treatments. There should be somewhat of time set aside to review the monetary options for an outcome of lower expense (“When someone You Love Is Being Treated With Cancer” 37). Since patients are unable to work, the household income and ability to pay mortgages tend to decrease. In order to pay bills there has to be some type of payment plan put in place to manage all of the medical care that the patient depends on. Money can come with financial hardships at times like this in which the last resort is to apply for some type of grant in order to become financially stable, but if and only particular qualifications are met. Research has to be done to make sure what treatments that can be covered to save the family money, and have a durable foundation for themselves and their sick relative(Sharp and Timmons ).
Due to the amount of money put out it reduces the extra spending causing the caregiver to have to buckle down on expenses to try to make enough to live a sustainable lifestyle (“Family Life”). There are three general costs when it comes to having a relative diagnosed with cancer: direct medical costs, direct non-medical costs, and indirect non-medical costs. Direct medicals costs puts emphasis on charges towards Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) , Computerized Tomography (CT) scan, and X-radiation ( X-rays), checkups, General Practitioner (GP) visits, step by step instructions when the patient is not in a health facility, and is now getting care and also medications whether bought off the shelf or provided by a primary pharmacist.
Direct non-medical costs relate to expenses such as parking space go to the appointments, heating, electricity, and groceries. (Sharp and Timmons).Indirect non-medical costs deals with not been being at your working environment and paying for therapy (Sharp and Timmons ). Other components that go into finances include when the patient has to go to treatment locations out of state, out of the country, costs of airplane or bus tickets, and staying at a hotel or an unfamiliar living environment overnight until the appointment time has come. Conversations should be had with a person who specializes in financial dilemmas that work in the medical facilities that the patient is being held at (“When Someone You love Has Advanced Cancer” 17).
According to Linda Sharp and Allien Thomas,”five hundred and thirty-nine respondents reported that they had some kind of savings at the time of their cancer diagnosis. Of these, a total of 57% reported that they have had to use some (50%) or all (7%) of their savings because of their cancer diagnosis” (Sharp and Timmons ).Emotional and Psychological Effects Anger tends to be one of the most common reactions when there are puzzling circumstances due to the daunting diagnosis at stake . Family members have anger towards the medical personales that are involved with the treatment of their loved one, and the family feels that the medical staff involved in the process may not be doing their absolute best to treat the patient because their family members health can have a probability of worsening. Anger expressed to a person that is not apart of family is used as a mechanism to relieve the anger that remains inside oneself, the patient, and other relatives (I?ycki and Wo?niak).
Ninety-two percent of members talked about the emotional impact of a loved one being diagnosed (Basra, Finlay,,Golics, and Salek). ReassuranceMembers of the family often think about what the future holds in order to relieve themselves of some of the pain of the current state of wellness. There is a sense of putting on a brave face so that there is no disturbance between the patient and other family members (I?ycki and Wo?niak). Two interviews were conducted by anonymous people for how cancer patients viewed how their family members were being affected in countless ways due to their diagnosis. A thirty-nine year old male who was diagnosed at the age of twenty-two talked about how his family reacted. He stated that his family was supportive but also hid a lot at the same time, but they hid their own emotions because they were trying to be strong for him.
His response to that was for his family to try to keep as much normality as possible no matter the aftermath of the treatment (“How it affects family and friends”).A fifty-year-old retired female accountant assistant who was married with four children says that members of the family need as much support as they can receive, so they need reassurance that everything is going to be alright in the long run (“How it affects family and friends”). Family members become not as available to one another as they once were in the past. Family members often feel guilty if they are not right by the side of their loved ones for even a small amount of time because that want to make sure that they are comfortable. There needs to be a reassurance that everyone still loves and cares for one another (I?ycki and Wo?niak ). BeliefsWhen family members are perceived as being upset they think that this is some sort of emotional and mental weakness (” How Families Cope with Cancer” 2). Some families come to a state of denial thinking that their loved one is not actually ill, but if they do express their sensitivity to the matter then it will be seen through their flare-ups. Faith and religion plays a major role because one may believe that the medicinal approaches performed directly reflects their spiritual acceptances (I?ycki and Wo?niak).
The unhealthy patient endures the illness hereditarily, the family becomes apprehensive that the sickness will always lead back to the sick relative dying. Family members believe that if they have a more optimistic approach to the process, that will be good enough to kill the illness in order for it to go away. Depending on cultural beliefs, a family can choose to keep the matter of their loved one’s health either in the family or make it known to the public (” How Families Cope with Cancer” 2).Helping HandMembers of the family that have a hard time coping with their sick loved one’s health issues gravitate towards going to therapeutic help to talk about feelings that they were not able to share with the patient and the rest of the family. If the one on one communication does not work, then family members join support groups to share what’s on their mind while listening to other people’s stories and/or feelings to try to see if everyone can relate to one another. Support groups do not always have to be in person, if one is not ready to express their feelings to strangers in the room they can join support groups on the internet or even have discussions on the phone if they are not ready to convey their feelings openly (“When Someone You Love Has Advanced Cancer” 18). According to APA President Carol D.
Goodheart, EdD, an independent practitioner in Princeton, N.J., “families know state-of-the-art medical care is important.” But what they don’t often realize is that state-of-the-art psychological care is also available to ease the impact of cancer fears, procedures, side effects and treatment sequelae” (Clay).Conclusion In conclusion, family members follow the phases of cancer just as much as the patient. While cancer patients feel most of their pain physically, their loved ones feel it physically, psychologically, financially, and emotionally.
Family members are required to take on the role as the primary caregiver which alters their complete lifestyle whether they are ready for it or not. The cost of cancer is far from inexpensive which leads to financial hardships for the family. Emotions run wild and anger is built up due to medical staff directly treating the patient or even upon other family members. It is very difficult for members of the family to live a stress free life because they have lost control and can’t find a balance. The impact that cancer has on the patient is almost as detrimental as the impact it has on the family.