Dealing with cancer patients emotionally | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 17, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 17, 2019

Dealing with cancer patients emotionally

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 1.5 million people have been diagnosed with various types of cancers in Bangladesh currently. Every year about 2 million people receive the news of having cancer and almost 1 million dies of it.

Dealing with cancer, reactions of surrounding people, friends and family members, play a very important role. The patient in most cases become oversensitive during this adaptation phase. Most of the times, we overthink and make things much more complicated than they really are.

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We feel unsure about how to face them. But it does not have to be like this. The easiest ways are those which we simply overlook. Here are some easy but effective ways that can make a cancer patient feel better and help him adapt to the situation.

Smile with them

Smiles are very powerful. A cancer patient does not have much to smile about in his/her life. This is where our smiles count. A smiling face gives him hope, confidence and a sense of encouragement. S/he feels connected with the world. We just need to make them believe if they do not have a smile, we have one of ours for them.

Empathy helps

There is a very thin line between empathy and sympathy. We usually feel sympathy for the patients. But in most cases, patients feel suffocated by this feeling.

It is empathy that really helps. You need to see their world from their eyes. We always need to remember, every cancer patient is different, so are their feelings. No matter how small or less threatening the condition is, to them it is the worst. We need to make them believe that we are on the same page.

Make their lives easy

A cancer patient becomes weak physically, especially during their treatment period. Surgeries and procedures like chemotherapy extract the last drop of life out of him. It becomes so hard to do the simple daily tasks for him. Take him for their checkups, pour him a glass of water, and carry the bag for him. Every little practical help of yours makes their life easier, makes them feel good and make them believe that they are not alone in this battle.

Choose your words wisely

Words matter. They are very powerful. They can make the patient feel stronger and shattered as well. We need to be empathetic of course, but first, we need to listen to them. Listen to what they have to say. Give proper attention to them.

Make their world positive

Be positive and encouraging. A cancer patient cannot afford a single negative thought. Positive words like, “we will make the journey together”, “we can defeat this thing” - coming from you can make a world of difference in their mindset.

You could be the one who can heal them from inside, who could be a warrior fighting the battle beside him. Also, you could be the destroyer even if you do nothing wrong. Now you decide what you want to be for them.


The writer is a Business Development Coordinator at SAJIDA Foundation.

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