How am I going to get through this? How am I going to help my family or my loved ones get through this? How do I deal with all these different feelings I’m having?
Aside from the physcial concerns, a person newly diagnosed with cancer experiences many, and often conflicting emotions, such as fear, anxiety and uncertainty about the future.
An interdisciplinary approach by the patient’s healthcare team is key to treating the newly diagnosed person with cancer and should include addressing the patient’s emotional and practical concerns, says Carolyn Messner, DSW, director of education and training for CancerCare, in an interview appearing in the February 2010 edition of The Oncology Nurse.
“Cancer is a complicated disease, and it requires a team of health professionals to refer back and forth to each other so that we can direct patients to the people who can best help them,” Messner notes.
“Social workers are trained to talk to people systemically about their concerns and issues they confront. Many are employed in the hospital or community center setting. In my own experience, oncology nurses and oncology social workers work very well together. That is the best model [in patient care].”
CancerCare has a full-time staff of professional oncology social workers who can help a person find effective ways to cope with a cancer diagnosis. Start by visiting the CancerCare website, or call 1-800-813-HOPE (4673).