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Holistic Cancer Support and Care

From nutrition to emotional support, these 6 people can help you during cancer treatment

Your Psychological Counselor: Key to Any Cancer Support Team

Living with cancer -- and undergoing cancer treatment -- can have a profound psychological impact. Many people become anxious or depressed. Seeing a therapist -- like a clinical social worker, psychologist, or psychiatrist -- can be a key form of cancer support.

Therapists can help you with many different aspects of your cancer treatment. He or she can help you grapple with some of the frightening big issues that cancer raises. But therapists can also help you deal with day-to-day practical issues. How should you talk to your children about your cancer? How much should you tell your boss and co-workers about your situation?

Some cancer centers have therapists on staff. Your doctor can also refer you to an outside counselor in the area who specializes in cancer support.

Your Social Worker: Helping You Find Cancer Support Resources

Social workers are often a key figure in cancer support teams, since they can help in many different ways. They can be a crucial emotional support, helping you and your family cope with the stresses of cancer treatment.

But social workers also help with practical things. For instance, they can track down cancer support groups, transportation, and other community resources you might need. They can help you understand any confusing aspects of treatment and even assist with paperwork.

Your hospital should have social workers on staff that you can see. Some health care centers might even have oncology social workers on staff, who are specially trained in cancer support. If you’d like, you could also choose to see a social worker who practices outside the hospital for regular therapy. See if you can find one who specializes in treating people coping with illness.

Your Spiritual Advisor: The Personal Advisor on Your Cancer Support Team

For a lot of people and their families, faith and prayer are crucial to getting through cancer treatment. According to the National Cancer Institute, some studies show that people with strong religious belief may have less pain, anxiety, and depression. Sometimes, coping with cancer can challenge your faith, and you may need to talk to someone about your concerns.

Seeking out a spiritual advisor for cancer support is a good idea. It could be a religious leader in your community, such as a priest, minister, or rabbi. Or you could ask to speak with the chaplain who is on staff in the hospital. Of course, a spiritual advisor doesn’t have to have an official title. You may find great comfort in meeting with close friends in a prayer circle instead.

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