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Holistic Cancer Support and Care

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

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.

Your Dietitian: The Importance of Nutrition in Cancer Support

If you’re getting cancer treatment, good nutrition may be the last thing on your mind. You may be too busy and too tired to bother with a balanced diet. Besides, cancer and its treatment can make eating difficult. You may have nausea, diarrhea, mouth sores, and a loss of appetite.

But eating a healthy diet is even more important when you’re undergoing the emotional and physical stress of cancer treatment. A dietitian can advise you on easy ways to get the nutrients you need.  Some people undergoing cancer treatments are prone to rapid weight loss. A dietitian can offer vital cancer support in these cases. He or she can make sure that your diet is giving you the calories and protein you need to keep your weight up.

Most hospitals have dietitians on staff. If you’re interested in seeing a dietitian or nutritionist, ask your doctor or nurse. You could also see a dietitian outside of the health center, but look for someone who is an expert at providing cancer support.


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