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Giving all out support for cancer patients

As the old saying goes, "We will never really know what something feels like unless we experience it first-hand."
With that being said, one will never understand how painful and hard it is to have cancer unless he/she will receive a cancer diagnosis.
Based on narratives,  cancer patients usually suffer from anxiety, shock, anger, or disbelief, and may also feel intense sadness, fear, and a sense of loss.
Other than that,  they will be physically, emotionally, and mentally drained too due to the rigorous duration of medications and treatment.
During these trying times, especially in the Philippine setting, families and friends usually extend utmost support to cancer patients thus, render all necessary assistance even beyond the superlative degree, may it be financially, spiritually, or emotionally.
According to Dr. Carina Chavente, oncologist of the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center (ITRMC) in San Fernando City, La Union, “Other than the love, affection and empathy we give them, there is something that they really need to at least alleviate the burden of having cancer --understanding.”
"Ang isa talaga sa mga kailangan kasi nila ay 'yong understanding at ang makakapagbigay talaga noon ay 'yong mga kapwa nila cancer patient din o 'yong mga gumaling na mula sa kanser," Chavente said.
Chavente is referring to it as having a  "support group" wherein patients can interact with other people who have similar, first-hand experiences with cancer.
They can talk to them about their experiences and share their own stories.
Members of the support group may feel more comfortable sharing their feelings and experiences that may be too difficult or too awkward to share with their family and friends.
With this, patients will feel the sense of belonging that helps each of them feel more understood and less alone hence, making them manage their emotions better, and cope with anxiety and depression.
Also, Chavente said that the support group will not only provide peer company, but it may as well serve as a pool of various types of assistance like having professionals to give medical advice on medication and treatment or counselors to give psycho-social interventions or even somebody who could assist on the patient's financial needs.
Meanwhile, in February 2020, a support group was established in ITRMC but was later stopped due to the community lockdowns due to the threats brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chavente is optimistic with her hopes that when the situation gets better,  the cancer support group in the facility will be revived.
However, more than all these sorts of support and assistance, may we not also forget to include them in our prayers and humbly ask for their healing from the One up there.
Today's world may offer the most modern technology to treat cancer and the most creative way to express support to patients but the best we can really give is prayer as its powers go beyond what we can imagine. (JCR/AMB/CGRC, PIA Region 1)

About the Author

Caren Grace Cabanayan


Region 1

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