CANCER CONVERSATIONS: ENABLING BETTER PATIENT-CAREGIVER COMMUNICATION

This episode in Cancer Conversations—a video series brought to you by The Indian Express and Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance—pairs a survivor with someone else’s caregiver, allowing them to share their sides of the story.

Effective communication is imperative between cancer patients and caregivers. So, while Cancer Conversations—a video series brought to you by The Indian Express and Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance—highlights this in one of its episodes, we’ve put together a few communication tips for both caregivers and patients.

Due to the uncertain nature of cancer, the relationship between a patient and caregiver (who is usually a family member) develops a new dynamic that has its own set of ups and downs. This episode in Cancer Conversations—a video series brought to you by The Indian Express and Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance—pairs a survivor with someone else’s caregiver, allowing them to share their sides of the story. All so that we can spread awareness instead of fear.

While the pair answered questions like “what annoyed you most” and “did you keep secrets from each other”, we realized that effective communication goes a long way in the cancer journey. That’s why we decided to share tips on how cancer warriors and their caregivers can communicate efficiently.


COMMUNICATION TIPS FOR CANCER CAREGIVERS

Understand the patient’s emotions: Dealing with the shock of the diagnosis, embarrassment, and feeling like a burden are emotions commonly felt by cancer patients. Being empathetic towards these emotions will help you comprehend what your patient is struggling to express.

Just Listen: Cancer patients are bombarded with free advice. Sometimes all they need is for someone to listen.

Be comfortable with silence: Allow your patient to introspect without interruption. This will allow them to collect their thoughts and express them better.

Harness the power of a loving touch: It can communicate emotions more than words can.

Maintain a sense of normality: Talk about topics other than cancer and health. Encourage (not force) participation in fun activities. This allows the patient to take a positive approach.

COMMUNICATION TIPS FOR CANCER PATIENTS

Be open about how you feel: Whether it’s helplessness or physical discomfort, share what you are going through. This will help your caregiver to provide the best care possible.

Remember that you are not a burden: Even though illness can make you feel like that, know that your caregiver feels otherwise. Don’t let that emotion hold you back from seeking help.

Involve your caregiver in decision-making: Collective decisions about treatment and care are always better. Including your caregiver during decision-making helps you get a better perspective.

Take a break from cancer: Every now and then, participate in activities and conversations beyond cancer. It reminds both you and your caregiver that there is a world beyond the disease, which both of you are very much a part of.

Watch the video series all month long on www.indianexpress.com and all social media platforms. Follow and share #CancerConversations to do your bit with spreading awareness about cancer.

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