It is estimated that in Spain 228,482 people have been diagnosed with cancer in 2017. The probability of cure in each case depends on many factors. Among them are the type of tumor that is present, and also the response of it to treatment .
However, also the mood of the patient has a great weight , which is often forgotten. Many experts emphasize the importance of emotional support in patients with terminal cancer.
What is a terminal cancer?
To define the terminal illness, it is necessary to gather a series of characteristics. Fundamentally they are the following:
- Presence of a advanced, progressive and incurable disease.
- Lack of reasonable possibilities of response to specific treatment.
- Presence of numerous problems or intense, multifactorial and changing symptoms.
Repercussions in the emotional state
The perception of the end of life gives rise to what is called reaction of duel . It is a psychological reaction to any loss. It is more palpable when it comes to death, especially when one is aware of the imminence of oneself. When this situation occurs, the person goes through five phases.
The first is Shock phase and denial: the subject is amazed, confused, does not understand or believe what is happening. Anger follows, directed toward what is believed to be the cause of the loss. There are fits of anger towards the doctor who did not know how to treat him, or even towards God.
Next a negotiation is triggered: the person tries to convince that the loss will not be so serious, or failing that, it could be worse.
He also asks not to lose anything other than what he has lost, or what he is going to lose. This leads later to a deep sadness: in this phase the losses are mourned.
Emotional support in patients with terminal cancer
In the course of the last stage of a terminal illness It is common for the person to experience hard feelings, among them the one loneliness . It is important that those around you offer their full support to cope with what is happening.
It can help to know that All the feelings that are presented to you are natural. This is an emotional moment, and although the issues that will be presented are difficult to deal with, it is important to address them.
Through dialogue the patient can be helped to carry out a process of analyzing his own life. It must determine for itself the purpose that it has had.
It can be useful identify to which part of death you fear . To die in solitude, to suffer, to pain, to have nothing beyond earthly life? That his life had no purpose or meaning? Deciding with the help of dialogue will help to confront it and have it under control.
Occasionally the feelings that arise are of anger. Unfortunately, you can address the people closest to you, with whom you have more confidence. It is important to be prepared for this, to be able to accept and forgive this anger.
Let the patient take the initiative . If you speak, listen carefully to what and how you say it. Do not worry about the silences during the conversation. Sometimes silence comforts and allows the patient to express better what they are thinking and feeling.
Try not to give advice: It is difficult for them to be good when they are not in the situation of the other person. It is preferable to ask questions or listen. Do not say “I know how you feel”, it will surely irritate the other person. You do not know how it feels.
If it starts to be difficult to contain the tears , explain it briefly. Stay away until you can be near without the patient having to comfort you. People with cancer do not always want to talk about the disease. Laughing and talking about other things are often welcome distractions.