Quality of life for a Cancer Patient
What is the quality of life for cancer patients?
Quality of life is a dynamic term. It involves many aspects of life be it physical, mental, or social.
It is a broad term that may have different meanings for different individuals. It may sound different for cancer patients as compared to normal healthy human beings.
A lot of people suffer from cancer every year. They get treatment and depending upon the overall health of a patient, the recovery period may vary.
Some people recover quickly while some take years. Even though the chance of recurrence is similar for a type of cancer.
This article broadly defines the quality of life in the sight of cancer patients and how you can improve it.
What does QOL include?
The quality of life of a cancer patient depends on many factors. It includes many things such as physical health, mental health, social health, and other aspects of life. These factors are discussed below briefly:
Physical health –
This includes overall energy, strength, and organ functionality. In cancer patients, it is much more important to take care of the physical health of the patient. The physical well-being of a cancer patient may look different compared to a normal healthy individual.
Cancer patients may experience pain in their bodies which may restrict their ability to do basic activities. It is crucial during the time of recovery to indulge in some minor physical activities to make the body healthier. It helps to provide relief from symptoms.
Mental health –
Mental health is a way to convey the ability to control and sense emotions. During diseases like cancer which drain out not only the body but also the mind of the patient, it is important to maintain a healthy mindset.
Being overemotional can physically weaken the patient. It is also required to accept the condition and balance the aspects of life towards a positive future. Most commonly cancer patients experience depression, anger, stress, and suicidal thoughts.
It is necessary to become strong-willed to win the battle against cancer. Mental distress and altered priorities in life can bring fear of the unknown in the patient’s life. Many patients join support groups and communities to see the positive side of life.
Social Interactions –
We majorly focus on the physical and mental health of a person, but we underestimate the other factors that can help a cancer patient to get well soon.
We must understand how much positive impact it can have on a patient’s life when they feel the presence of their loved ones. The involvement of family and friends in the recovery session can bring drastic improvement to the patient’s body. These interactions can improve the ability of the patient to deal with the hurdles of cancer.
Factors affecting QOL
Several factors can affect the quality of life of a cancer patient, some of which are as follows:
- Age – Age is one of the major factors that affect the quality of life for a cancer patient. As age increases the quality of life after cancer treatment decreases. As the human body becomes weak and the immune system also weakens over some time.
Generally, older cancer patients experience many side effects and symptoms of cancer which also take a longer time to heal. Patients who are over the age of 50 require much care and support.
- Stage of cancer – The stage at which cancer is diagnosed in a patient impacts the quality of life among cancer patients. Patients with advanced stages of cancer are less likely to get cured. It is observed that patients who got diagnosed with cancer at lower stages have a better quality of life.
- Overall health – A cancer patient can get treatment for cancer and live a better life, but the case gets complicated if the patient also suffers from other illnesses. Some of the most common diseases observed in many cancer patients are diabetes, hypertension, cardiac diseases, and depression.
It gets difficult to treat cancer if a person is already suffering from other lifestyle diseases. It decreases the quality of life for a cancer patient. Depending upon the type of disease, stage of cancer, and type of cancer the quality of life varies for different patients.
- Cancer Treatment – The main treatment option that is used to treat cancer in a patient is decided by the doctor. It depends on many things such as the overall health of the patient, type of cancer, stage of cancer, age of the patient, etc.
Getting the right type of treatment at the right time can majorly impact the quality of life of the patient. Along the way of treatment, it is advised to take steps to support a better quality of life.
- Financial factors – Cancer treatment consists of many things. It involves diagnostic tests, treatment methods, hospital stays, medicines, recovery, and follow-up consultations. All these things can become a major burden for cancer patients and their loved ones.
The overall cost of treatment for different types of cancer can vary a lot. Many types of diagnostic tests are specific for a specific type of cancer. This financial stress can eventually affect the physical and mental health of a patient which can decline the quality of life for the patient.
Ways to improve QOL
There are several ways to improve the quality of life of a cancer patient. Some of the lifestyle changes may be required by the patient to make in their daily life after treatment. These changes can help the patient live longer and have a healthy life, such as:
- Physical activities
Studies have shown that patients who exercise daily or do some physical activity can help them recover faster from treatment side effects. Doing small activities like walking, swimming, jogging, running, yoga or cycling according to your ability can help you manage your side effects and build muscle strength.
Physical activities build muscle strength and provide the patient with a sense of achievement. This not only works best for the body to recover quickly, but mentally also a patient gets satisfaction. During the recovery period, it becomes more important to manage both mental and physical health.
- Social interactions
As discussed above, social interaction with family and friends can improve the overall health of cancer patients which eventually improves their quality of life for them. Mental support from family, friends, partners or medical staff can fall under the term social support. The presence of a person who cares about the patient can give them the feeling of warmth and love they require to recover quickly.
Many patients also join support groups and communities to interact with people going through the same phase of their life and provide support to each other. It can help spread awareness and help reduce any negative behavior changes in a cancer patient.
- Side effect management
Cancer patients can experience many symptoms during and after cancer treatment. Some of the major side effects are pain, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, etc. Apart from these common symptoms, numerous other side effects affect many cancer patients during their cancer journey.
These symptoms can affect the normal daily activities in a person’s life and hinder many activities.
You can ask your doctor to prescribe you medication to control these symptoms. With time as the body recovers, these symptoms will reduce on their own.
- Emotional management
Cancer can make a patient overwhelmed by the amount of time they spend in hospitals, experiencing different symptoms and pain they go through mentally and physically. This can be exhausting for any patient.
It is important to keep your senses strong and look for the positive aspects of life. During the time of treatment and recovery, it becomes difficult to look forward to a better future. Consult your doctor and ask questions to get a better view of the treatment.
Patient education entails a variety of educational items that assist in improving understanding of their ailment, treatment, and preventative actions. It will help to keep the patient emotionally clear about the outcomes and quality of life after treatment.
It is often advised by doctors to get counseling after treatment. It helps the patient to cope with emotional distress and its reaction. It also helps to manage side effects and other personal issues related to cancer. Cognitive-behavioral therapy involves changing negative ideas and behaviors connected with cancer with more beneficial ones.
How can Cancer Rounds help?
We are one such organization that assists cancer patients at any stage of cancer to get the best treatment from India’s top doctors.
We have worked with thousands of patients and supported them during their battle with cancer to get world-class treatment in the finest hospitals in India.
People across the country have received different types of cancer treatment in top cancer hospitals through us. To get a consultation from the best oncologists, contact us.