Step into the shoes of a sup­port­ive care­giver with­out burn­ing out, emo­tion­ally and phys­i­cally.

Herworld (Malaysia) - - CONTENTS - Amanda Soh finds out how. Dr Azura Rozila Ah­mad, med­i­cal on­col­o­gist at Bea­con Hospi­tal

What you can do for friends and fam­ily who are fight­ing can­cer.

Can­cer does not just af­fect the pa­tient, but also the peo­ple they lean on. Dr Azura Rozila Ah­mad rec­om­mends set­ting up a sup­port sys­tem from the very start, once the can­cer’s been di­ag­nosed. As a sup­porter, you have such an im­por­tant task of help­ing your loved one keep her spir­its up. As the big ‘C’ can be hard to ac­cept and over­come, you’ll be pro­vid­ing her with the emo­tional and phys­i­cal sup­port she needs to keep fight­ing and get back on her feet.

Adapt­ing to changes

Nat­u­rally, there would be changes to your loved one’s rou­tine and health needs. As a care­giver, you’ll also have to pre­pare for a shift in your daily sched­ule and over­all life­style to ac­com­mo­date your loved one.

The Na­tional Can­cer So­ci­ety of Malaysia (NC SM) sug­gests do­ing these to help you and your loved one ad­just:

• Have a diet rich in good pro­tein to in­crease the body’s en­ergy to fight can­cer cells. Add more fruits and veg­eta­bles, too, as they’re high in an­tiox­i­dants.

• Get out and about with sim­ple work­outs that are not too tax­ing. The in­ten­sity can be grad­u­ally ad­justed as your loved one goes through her reg­i­men of treat­ments. Even walk­ing around the house is good ex­er­cise to keep her fit.

• Con­nect with other care­givers, sup­port groups, pa­tients and fam­ily mem­bers who’ve been through a sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ence.

Care­givers need sup­port, too

Dr Azura ad­vises against bom­bard­ing your­self with in­for­ma­tion as you surf the web, for an­swers to your con­cerns and ques­tions. To sep­a­rate fact from fic­tion, NCSM pro­poses look­ing at web­sites that quote trusted sources, such as Can­cer Re­search UK, Can­cer Coun­cil Vic­to­ria, and the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety. Seek help as well from coun­sel­lors in gov­ern­ment or pri­vate hos­pi­tals. If this ser­vice isn’t avail­able near you, get in touch with the sup­port groups at NCSM, Breast Can­cer Wel­fare As­so­ci­a­tion Malaysia, Breast Can­cer Foun­da­tion, and MAKNA.

It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber that you’re not alone. Many non-gov­ern­men­tal or­gan­i­sa­tions have re­sources that you can ac­cess. For in­stance, NCSM has a Re­source and Well­ness Cen­tre for both pa­tients and care­givers. You can also ask to be up­dated on pub­lic talks, work­shops, and sem­i­nars to be bet­ter equipped for the good fight. To get in­for­ma­tion in a flash, pick up the phone and give MAKNA or NCSM a call – they have helplines for this pur­pose.

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