A diagnosis of cancer has a profound effect on an individual and their family member’s health and wellbeing. Cancer is a multisystem disease and its treatments can also have multiple systemic effects. As a potentially life-threatening disease, it is also a condition that is associated with significant fears and concerns. As a result, people affected by cancer can experience consequences across various physical, social, emotional, psychological, information, spiritual and practical aspects. These effects are likely to change over time.
Every individual’s experience throughout the cancer experience is unique and affected by a range of factors including:1
- developmental stage
- socioeconomic status
- psychosocial supports
Common responses to cancer include:1
- body image
- interpersonal problems
- new relationships post diagnosis
- stress and adjustment reactions/severe emotional distress
- anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- reconstructive surgery
- travel and accommodation
- other support needs
- loss of income
- difficulties with business dealings
- legal issues related to advanced disease.
- nausea and vomiting
- bowel dysfunction
- cognitive problems
- communication difficulties
- respiratory symptoms
- end of life concerns.
From your experience describe:
- Common perceptions that individuals in our community have about cancer
- The potential implications of these perceptions for how people respond to a diagnosis of cancer.
Watch Jane’s story: meet Jane and complete the following learning activity:
- Describe Jane’s key health and support needs at this time.