It is another breast cancer awareness month, also known as pink October, an annual campaign to raise awareness about breast cancer and its influence, pay tribute to soldiers who have lost the fight to breast cancer, and motivate and also render a helping hand to those on the battlefield.
I am delighted to share this topic with you as I am passionate about women’s health and wellness.
Sadly, we have to live with the reality of breast cancer. It is the most common type of cancer in women according to the world cancer research fund International.
A significant number of people have loved ones nursing breast cancer, hence, the reason this topic is important.
As soon as a patient is diagnosed with breast cancer the majority of them shut themselves off from the world.
They try to ask why and how they encounter such a disease. The more they try to answer these questions the more confused they get.
If you have a loved one nursing breast cancer let them know that it is not their fault. There is nothing she could have done better. The cause of breast cancer is unknown.
Although there are risk factors, not everyone who possesses risk factors is diagnosed with breast cancer while there are people without risk factors who are living with breast cancer. Hence, it is not their fault that they are diagnosed with breast cancer.
According to the world health organizations, approximately half of breast cancers develop in women who have no identifiable breast cancer risk factor other than gender (female) and age (over 40 years).
As a healthcare worker who has met with patients with breast cancer, I can categorically tell you that it is not a walk in the park. It involves lots of mental and financial struggles, hence, a lot of patients lose battles without even trying to fight.
As a family, either husband, child, parent, brother, sister, or even friend to a woman nursing breast cancer, below are useful tips to support your loved one.
- Lend them your listening Ear:
Listen to your loved one when they try to communicate with you. You don’t need to have a solution to their rants or fears, just listen. That you are listening is more than enough.
- Help them with chores:
Your loved one needs time to focus on themselves now more than ever, while they do that, help them to take care of other things like cleaning the house, taking care of the children, cooking, etc. So that they can focus on their healing.
- Support them financially:
Breast cancer is expensive to manage. It drains money. One of the best ways to help is to support your loved one financially so that they won’t miss or skip their treatments.
- Respect their Opinion:
Even if you have a different opinion, understand that she is the one nursing the breast cancer. Respect her choices and decisions about her life and career.
- Take them on an Outing:
Women who live with breast cancer usually seclude themselves, they tend to lose interest in everything. Motivate your loved one to socialize as it helps them to improve their health.
- Help to keep up appointments:
Help them to track and remind them of their medical appointments. Accompany them to the hospital for medical checkups. Even if they are feeling like they are burdening you, assure them that you are always available for them.
- Prioritize Intimacy:
This is very important for couples. While you want to be empathetic, you must also be available for your spouse’s intimacy when your loved one needs you. You should talk about how much intimacy they need. From just sitting close, and holding hands to cuddling to lovemaking. You might think your spouse is not ready emotionally and psychologically for intimacy when they want it so badly but lack the zeal to initiate the process and that’s why you’ve got to talk about it.
- Give them space:
Nursing breast cancer comes with lots of emotional rollercoasters. Your loved one will have ups and downs from time to time. When this happens, understand them and give them time to come around.
- Boost their morale:
Motivate your loved one to feel great about themselves. Breast cancer patients are often self-conscious about the changes in their bodies that come with treatment. Motivate your loved one to adapt to these changes and improvise a new lifestyle routine to make them feel better about their body.
As you are taking care of your loved one do not forget to fill your cup too. Take a timeout to care for yourself also.
Now that you know how you can support your loved one nursing breast cancer, go and
shower them with love.
To all the women out there battling breast cancer, you will win this battle.
Written by Odekunle Doyin Zouerat