Cancer is always a life-changing event. However, after the initial shock you begin to learn to live with the disease. This section on living with cancer provides information on how people with cancer and their relatives and friends can get support for coping mentally and physically, for enhancing wellbeing and facing everyday problems and relationships despite having cancer.
Learning that you have a serious illness is a blow. Cancer is frightening and tormenting. Fear is a natural response when you are faced with an unknown and serious illness.
Cancer is a severe blow not only for the person with the disease but for his or her relatives and friends. In light of the illness, relatives and friends find they have to think about how they relate to cancer and the person who has it. It is hard to see a loved one becoming sick while at the same time learning new qualities and attitudes in oneself.
Having cancer brings with it many different feelings. The disease not only affects your body but also your mental wellbeing. Accepting the role of patient can be hard.
Having cancer can undermine your mental and physical wellbeing. It is good to ensure you get enough sleep and exercise and have a varied diet at all stages of your illness. It is also important that you take care of your psychological wellbeing.
Serious illness affects couple relationships, family life and friendships. Sometimes the illness brings people closer; sometimes it creates distance. Established roles and daily routines may alter for a while.
Having cancer can affect your relationship and sexuality in many ways. These always vary from person to person. Both partners have to adapt to the demanding situation and to new roles due to the illness.
Cancer patients of childbearing age are often worried about their possibilities to have children after undergoing treatment for cancer. The issue is increasingly topical because nowadays a greater proportion of people who have cancer in their childhood or youth recover from the disease.
Having cancer can radically undermine your and your family’s financial situation. Even in the early stages of the disease it is good to bear in mind that dealing with various expenses, benefits and reimbursements will require some effort on your part.
The Social Insurance Institution (Kela) reimburses the costs of travel for cancer treatment and rehabilitation. You can claim for travel for doctor’s appointments or for examinations ordered by a doctor or for treatment.
When you are diagnosed with cancer, the first thing that may come to mind is that there will be a long period off work. But as with many other illnesses, cancer does not necessarily result in work incapacity or being off work for a long period.
Increasingly more people with cancer can return to normal life following treatment. Getting through the illness takes time. Once treatment ends it is best to take things slowly and regain your strength.
In some situations, cancer cannot be cured nor the progress of the disease contained. This is when terminal care becomes appropriate. And this is also when it is necessary to think about death and the issues surrounding it.