Cancer And The Family Dynamic

Health & Medical Blog

A cancer diagnosis affects more than just the cancer patient. It changes the dynamics of families and friendships and effects relationships on many different levels. When a cancer patient undergoes treatment their family and friends undergo changes too, some of them physical but many of them emotional.  It is important to have open and thorough communication with an experienced oncologist who can explain not just the disease and treatment, but the changes that a patient and family may experience. An experienced oncologist can give you resources to foster positive discussions between patients and their families. 

A Shift in Family Dynamic

A cancer diagnosis can cause an immediate shift in family dynamics. If the patient was the primary breadwinner for the family, they may find themselves unable to work. Stay at home parents may suddenly find themselves thrust not just into the workplace, but also into being the one who everyone turns to for support.

Children often become confused and fearful of what treatment and the future will bring. Young children who do not have the understanding to communicate their feelings may regress or act out. Older children may withdraw and refuse to discuss their feelings or may become emotional and react as if they were younger than their years.

Single parents may find themselves depending on their older children for more than just random chores. Things such like cooking dinner, childcare, and emotional support can fall upon the shoulders of teens who would much rather be with their friends or concentrating on their schoolwork. 

It is important to have open communication within your family in order to foster positive attitudes in the family household. Your oncologist (liek those at Southwest Oncology Centers) can refer you to family therapists and counselors to help you navigate the changes your family is experiencing.

Getting Help Before You Need It

There is nothing weak or wrong in asking for help when you are struggling with a cancer diagnosis. Treatments can leave a patient weak and unable to function in their normal capacity. Asking friends or family for assistance with meals, housework, or childcare BEFORE you need help can help reduce the stress of figuring things out when you suddenly find yourself in need of assistance. 

Getting help also includes allowing yourself to be angry at a cancer diagnosis and to acknowledge that along with anger comes grief and sadness. Keeping a positive outlook during treatment is an important component to mental health, but so is working through negative feelings that can occur. This may mean the need for professional counseling (both as a family and as individuals) and accepting that sometimes medication is needed to counteract depression and anxiety

Planning for the Future

Having serious discussions about how cancer has changed your future is not on anyone's wish list, but something that needs addressing early in treatment. Even without a terminal diagnosis, cancer may mean a change in financial situation, future goals, and even where you live. Participation in clinical trials may mean relocating at least temporarily. 

Reduction in income due to short or long term disability can mean a change in your normal activities, vacation plans, and even educational goals for your children. 

Having open and serious discussions will result in a deeper connection between spouses, children, and caregivers and help prevent isolation and depression that comes with not knowing what the future holds.  


13 July 2015

Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Over a year ago, I was formerly diagnosed with high blood pressure. However, due to frequent headaches and dizziness, I had already suspected that I suffered from this serious medical problem. Immediately, I was placed on medication. I also began to research natural ways that I can lower my blood pressure. I now carefully scan food labels for sodium content. I also try not to add extra salt to my recipes when I’m cooking at home. In addition, I strive to consume foods daily that are believed to have a positive effect on blood pressure numbers. On this blog, you will learn about various natural ways to lower your blood pressure.