Cancer is one of the most feared and debilitating diseases. Over 18 million new cases were reported worldwide in 2018. If your loved one has a terminal diagnosis, the thought of caring for them while dealing with your own strong emotions can seem overwhelming; however, you don’t have to do it alone. There are many caregiver services available to support seniors and their families during these difficult times. The guide below looks at some of the most common cancers and what patients might face.
Breast cancer affects approximately one out of eight women in the United States. It usually remains undetected until tumors or lumps are found via breast exam or mammogram. Some symptoms may include thickening or discharge in the nipple area, an increase in the size or shape of the breasts, or a change in one’s skin. For example, you may notice redness or pitting. When caught early, it is fairly treatable; however, as the disease progresses, it may affect the brain stem and thus cognition.
Early symptoms of this common cancer include a new, persistent cough, pain in the chest, back, or shoulders, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Advanced symptoms may include swelling, headache, dizziness, jaundice, and bone pain. Chemotherapy, immunotherapy, laser therapy, surgery, or radiation may be used to treat this cancer. However, since these can easily wear on the patient, caregivers will often be responsible for helping those affected with daily tasks—such as preparing meals or moving around the house.
Colon and rectal cancers usually exhibit symptoms of blood in the stool, bloating, abdominal pain, constipation or diarrhea, unexplained weight loss, or thin stools. Often there are no symptoms in the early stages. Treatment includes surgery and chemotherapy. However, because it can be caught late, sometimes the best course of action is palliative care, which focuses on pain relief rather than eliminating the illness. Medically-trained caregivers can administer these services either in your relative’s home or in a long-term care facility, such as hospice.
If you are dealing with a loved one’s terminal cancer diagnosis, get help from the caregivers at Advantage Home Health & Hospice. Serving LeFlore County, OK, they can help patients with everything from taking their medication to helping them exercise or bathe as needed. This allows you, as a relative, to have peace of mind—especially if you have a job or family that, by necessity, requires some of your attention. Call (918) 647-0653 for more information or to schedule a consultation. Visit the website to see a full range of services.