The Canadian Cancer Society has designated April Cancer Awareness Month. According to the Society, cancer is the leading cause of death in Canada. What’s more, nearly 1 in 2 Canadians are expected to develop cancer during their lifetime. This is a staggering statistic. If there is good news in any of this, it may be that the cancer death rate decreased by 32 percent for males and 17 percent for females (1988-2017).
Cancer awareness month serves to remind us of the importance of maintaining awareness and understanding its impact on the people it touches.
There is a role for family and friends in supporting someone who has cancer. While there are many medications and procedures available to physically treat cancer, treating the whole person is very important as well.
The Canadian Cancer Society provides valuable tips about supporting someone who has cancer. Practical tips like planning visits with patients at a time that works best for the person with cancer and being aware that some patients who are undergoing chemotherapy can be very sensitive to scents like perfumes and colognes. You can also be proactive about offering support to a friend or family member with cancer. Instead of saying ‘just call me if you need anything’, consider offering up suggestions that you know may be valuable and appreciated.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Drive your friend or family member to and from medical appointments
- Shop for groceries or offer to get prescriptions
- Offer to do household chores, such as getting the mail, walking the dog, doing laundry, cleaning, cutting the grass, watering plants, shoveling snow or taking out the garbage
- Prepare meals that your friend or family member can easily freeze and reheat (Check first to see if the cancer treatment has affected what your friend or family member can eat)
- Help look after children. Take them to and from school and evening activities or arrange play dates
- Offer to be a ‘point person’ to organize schedules for meals, rides, chores or visitors. Sometimes just organizing many offers of help can seem overwhelming
Support comes in a number of forms and they all can be valuable and part of the overall treatment journey.
Purdue Pharma (Canada) is committed to supporting cancer patients with medications to help manage their acute and delayed chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting. We believe in a research-driven approach to managing cancer pain that may or may not include available prescriptions products in combination with other effective treatments.
The reality is that managing cancer outcomes is not “one size fits all” and we are committed to finding solutions for cancer patients to treat and live with their chemotherapy induced nausea and vomiting and their pain.
We all have a role to play in supporting those with cancer and their families. Cancer Awareness Month is a good reminder of the importance of treating the physical and emotional impacts of cancer. Please remember that it is important to always keep cancer patients and their families at the forefront.