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Reaching Out to Your Family and Friends

14985834Approximately 32 percent of patients with cancer experience cancer-related fatigue that is so severe that they cannot perform their daily activities and routines.1 Vogelzang NJ, Breitbart W, Cella D, et al. Patient, caregiver, and oncologist perceptions of cancer-related fatigue: results of a tripart assessment survey. The Fatigue Coalition. Semin Hematol. 1997 Jul;34(3 Suppl 2):4-12. In addition to time spent in treatments and traveling to medical appointments, the average patient spends four and a half hours per week managing side effects.2 Henry DH, Viswanathan HN, Elkin EP, Traina S, Wade S, Cella D. Symptoms and treatment burden associated with cancer treatment: results from a cross-sectional national survey in the U.S. Support Care Cancer. 2008 Jul;16(7):791-801.

Activities that you may have done in the past with friends and family may be compromised; for example, family meals or dining out with friends may not be activities that you can do with them if you develop problems that compromise your ability to swallow normally.3 Gaziano JE. Evaluation and management of oropharyngeal Dysphagia in head and neck cancer. Cancer Control. 2002 Sep-Oct;9(5):400-9.

Therefore, you may want to consider reaching out to family and friends to determine whether they can help you during the course of your illness. For example, to deal with fatigue, you can delegate some tasks to a friend or family member if they offer the help.

http://vimeo.com/64108657
Gather the love and support from your family and friendsGordon O. (laryngeal cancer survivor)

References

1 Vogelzang NJ, Breitbart W, Cella D, et al. Patient, caregiver, and oncologist perceptions of cancer-related fatigue: results of a tripart assessment survey. The Fatigue Coalition. Semin Hematol. 1997 Jul;34(3 Suppl 2):4-12.

2 Henry DH, Viswanathan HN, Elkin EP, Traina S, Wade S, Cella D. Symptoms and treatment burden associated with cancer treatment: results from a cross-sectional national survey in the U.S. Support Care Cancer. 2008 Jul;16(7):791-801.

3 Gaziano JE. Evaluation and management of oropharyngeal Dysphagia in head and neck cancer. Cancer Control. 2002 Sep-Oct;9(5):400-9.

4 American Cancer Society (ACS). Cancer facts and figures 2012. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, Inc. 2012.

5 Breitbart W, Holland J. Psychosocial aspects of head and neck cancer. Semin Oncol. 1988 Feb;15(1):61-9.

6 Kugaya A, Akechi T, Okuyama T, et al. Prevalence, predictive factors, and screening for psychologic distress in patients with newly diagnosed head and neck cancer. Cancer. 2000 Jun 15;88(12):2817-23.

7 Bjordal K, Kaasa S. Psychological distress in head and neck cancer patients 7-11 years after curative treatment. Br J Cancer. 1995 Mar;71(3):592-7.

8 Meier A, Lyons EJ, Frydman G, Forlenza M, Rimer BK. How cancer survivors provide support on cancer-related Internet mailing lists. J Med Internet Res. 2007 May 14;9(2):e12.

9 Ashbury FD, Cameron C, Mercer SL, Fitch M, Nielsen E. One-on-one peer support and quality of life for breast cancer patients. Patient Educ Couns. 1998 Oct;35(2):89-100.

10 Ziebland S, Chapple A, Dumelow C, Evans J, Prinjha S, Rozmovits L. How the internet affects patients' experience of cancer: a qualitative study. BMJ. 2004 Mar 6;328(7439):564.

11 Semple CJ, Dunwoody L, Sullivan K, Kernohan WG. Patients with head and neck cancer prefer individualized cognitive behavioural therapy. Eur J Cancer Care (Engl). 2006 Jul;15(3):220-7.