The Unmet Needs of Cancer

How can we understand and meet the unfulfilled needs of our patients who have been through cancer therapy?
Recent research shows that many cancer patients face physical and mental challenges that impair their quality of life well beyond the five-year survival milestone.

These problems and challenges can vary by the type of cancer and the treatments patients receive.

Would you ever consider asking this question? “Tell me about any needs you have now as a cancer patient that are not being met to your satisfaction”.

Or perhaps “Tell me how you feel”.

Issues I commonly see include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Lack of taste sensation
  • Poor immune function
  • Incontinence
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lack of libido
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Fear and anxiety about a return of the cancer
  • Anxiety over food choices
  • Anxiety over nutritional supplements
  • Insomnia

And the list just goes on.

Many cancer survivors are often caught off guard by the lingering problems they experience after cancer treatment.
Usually, there’s no follow up by the oncologist, no information about supporting resources and it is assumed by the system that “it’s fixed!”.

Many of our patients lose their sense of personal control, they have reduced quality of life and express frustration that these problems aren’t being addressed by the system. Understanding narcissism is also important to not mistake something else to it.

Maybe, just maybe, we can play a role if we really, really want to.

Get involved, get informed and get proactive, before another sector of health personpower recognizes the gaps and fills them.

One response to “The Unmet Needs of Cancer”

  1. Lovely idea. Let’s look at the patient who has/had cancer, and not just look at the cancer that developed as a result of long term [ usually ] poor life style choices. It is the person who is seeing you for help and support, not whatever dis-ease.

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