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How to Support a Loved One Facing Cancer

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
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When someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, you may suddenly feel helpless and unsure of what you can do to help. You may feel awkward and uncertain of how to approach your loved one, but remember, people in cancer treatment do better when they have strong support from family and friends. So get familiar with what they're going through and try to figure out what you can do to help. This will enable you to support them through treatment in the most beneficial ways possible.


Be There to Listen


Listening to your loved one is one of the best ways you can provide support. The American Cancer Society recommends taking cuesfrom the person instead of just assuming they want to talk. Respect their need for privacy if they seem hesitant about sharing their feelings. On the other hand, some people will really want to talk about their illness. In this case, it's important that you just listen instead of offering advice, judgment, or even cheers of encouragement. Never offer unsolicited medical advice or talk about other people's experiences with cancer unless they ask. Don't be afraid to tell them how you feel as long as it doesn't undermine the patient's experiences.


If you're not living with the person, make a point to keep in touch throughout their treatment. Many cancer patients notice friends and loved ones stop calling after the initial diagnosis and begin to feel isolated. Remember that you're a valuable part of their support network! Make short, regular visits and always mention the next time you'll come by.


Get Educated About Cancer and Treatment


When you start to understand what your loved one is going through, you can have a better idea of what exactly you can do to help.Gathering information for your loved one can be huge in helping them make informed decisions. They may feel overwhelmed by the amount of information they have to sift through to make decisions in a short amount of time. Conducting internet research and condensing the information for the patient can make a big difference. Just remember not to give them advice unless they ask you for it. Also, be sure to learn about the different types of cancer treatment from the National Cancer Institute so you know what to expect for your loved one and how to best help them through side effects.


It's important to be mindful of your loved one's painkiller usage as well. Though painkillers provide necessary relief to cancer patients, they also come with the potential for addiction. People most at risk of painkiller addiction are those that have struggled with addiction in the past. If you’re concerned, talk to the patient’s doctor.


Offer Concrete Assistance


According to Prevention, you should avoid saying things like "let me know if there's anything I can do." While this sounds like a nice gesture, it actually puts the person with cancer in an uncomfortable position. They have to figure out what you can do to help and then feel like a burden having to ask you to do it. Instead, try offering some concrete form of help. For example, offer to make a meal for their family, drive them to a doctor’s appointment, or babysit their children. Some people may just need a treatment buddy to go with them to chemotherapy sessions. It also helps to pinpoint useful gifts and gestures from humorous presents to lotion for dry skin from chemotherapy.


If your spouse is the cancer patient, try taking the initiative by tackling chores, cooking, and other tasks they usually do. It’s also helpful if you act as the family spokesperson, talking to concerned friends and taking phone calls from doctors. This allows your partner rest and focus on healing.


Helping a loved one with cancer can be difficult. It’s important that you take care of yourself and find ways to deal with your own emotions. Make time to relax, eat healthy, and exercise. There is no shame in this. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of others. Your loved one will understand and appreciate any and all support that you can provide.




Scott Sanders is the creator of CancerWell.org, which provides resources and support for anyone who has been affected by any form of cancer. He is also the author of the book Put Yourself First: A Guide to Self-care and Spiritual Wellness During and After Cancer Treatment.


National Palliative Care Policy Development - Consultative Meetings

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  • Category: Blog
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PACAM, in collaboration with Ministry of Health, Directorate of Nursing organised regional consultative meetings for the North, Centre and South.  Participants included District Health Officers, District Nursing Officers, heads of health teaching institutions, heads of CHAM hospitals, central hospitals, directors, Medical council of Malawi, zonal health officers and various others.  They were consulted and gave their views, the report shall be coming out soon.

Malawi Joins The World In Celebrating World Hospice And Palliative Care Day

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
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In Malawi, The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Palliative Care Association of Malawi (PACAM) joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Hospice and Palliative Care Day (WHPCD);  under the Theme: ‘’Universal Health Coverage And Palliative Care - don’t leave those suffering behind’’ 

The commemoration was done on 17th November 2017 at  Nsalula COMMUNITY DAY SECONDARY SCHOOL Ground in Salima District of the central region of Malawi.  And was presided over by the deputy chairperson of Salima district council Mrs B. Mbewe.

The event was supported with funding from National AIDS Commission, True colours Trust,  Lighthouse Trust and K2 Taso Palliative Care.

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Advocating for Dignity: PACAM’s Campaign for Liquid Morphine in Malawi - part 2 of 3

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
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...continuing from previous blog...

Affected individualThen acting as PACAM board chair – and now its National Coordinator – Thambo and his fellow Malawi delegates realized that the barriers to implementing such a program in Malawi were many. Different stakeholders, such as the Central Medical Stores, the private sector, and the Pharmacy, Medicines, and Poisons Board were not collaborating on the drug’s procurement, supply, and monitoring.

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Malawi Ministry Of Health Intergrates Palliative Care Indicators In The District Health Information System

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  • Category: Blog
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Indicators - meeting picture

In Malawi, for the first time, palliative care indicators have been integrated into the District Health Information System (DHIS2).  While another areas were already in the DHIS2, palliative acre reporting was being done manually.

Thanks to the PACAM STEP UP project which was funded through True Colours Trist since 2011.  The Palliative care STEP Project started in 2011 in the Southern region of Malawi for four years.  From 2015 to date, the Palliative Care STEP UP Project moved to the central and Northern Regions.  However throughout the implementation period, one of the major challenges has been centralized reporting.

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World Hospice and Palliative Care Day

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  • Category: Blog
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PACAM in collaboration with Ministry of Health conducted World Hospice and Palliative Care Day on 2nd November 2012 at Riverside Hotel in Lilongwe.  This was a national event with participants from all the 3 regions of the country.  The theme for the year is Palliative Care for the Ageing Population and Malawi organised National prayers.

What problems do you think the ageing population are facing?

World Hospice and Palliative Care Association Day 2014

  • Written by Super User
  • Category: Blog
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The Theme for 2014 WORLD HOSPICE AND PALLIATIVE CARE DAY IS WHO CARES? WE DO! And the commemoration was on 24th October at Ntandire in Lilongwe.Guest of Honour was PS for Health Mr Chris Kang’ombe.

Do you have any comments on the theme?


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