Cancer Detection (cont.)
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What other support is there for cancer patients?
Living with a serious disease is difficult. Cancer patients and those who care about them face many problems and challenges. Coping with these difficulties is easier when people have helpful information and support services.
Cancer patients may worry about holding their job, caring for their family, or keeping up with daily activities. Worries about tests, treatments, hospital stays, and medical bills are also common. Doctors, nurses, and other members of the health care team can answer questions about treatment, working, or other activities. Meeting with a nurse, social worker, counselor, or a member of the clergy also can be helpful to patients who want to talk about their feelings or discuss their concerns about the future or about personal relationships.
Friends and relatives, especially those who have had personal experience with cancer, can be very supportive. Also, it helps many patients to meet with others who are facing problems like theirs. Cancer patients often get together in support groups, where they can share what they have learned about cancer and its treatment and about coping with the disease. It is important to keep in mind, however, that each patient is different. Treatments and ways of dealing with cancer that work for one person may not be right for another, even if they both have the same kind of cancer. It is a good idea to discuss the advice of friends and family members with the doctor.
Often, a social worker at the hospital or clinic can suggest groups that can help with rehabilitation, emotional support, financial aid, transportation, or home care. The American Cancer Society has many services for patients and families. Local offices of the American Cancer Society are listed in the white pages of the telephone directory. The Cancer Information Service also has information on local services.