It may be hard for cancer patients to make plans for the New Year when they are about to start or already undergoing treatment. But it's important for cancer patients to focus on other things, too. Lori Kovell, LSW, Mind-Body Therapist at our hospital in Philadelphia shares her thoughts on patients making plans for the New Year while undergoing treatment.
Do cancer patients find it difficult to think about anything but their treatment in the New Year?
A lot of patients find it difficult to think about anything but their treatment because it is such a part of their lives. Whether or not it’s the New Year, the lives of cancer patients are generally re-organized around treatment schedules and doctor appointments. Scheduling activities that are unrelated to your treatment can be very therapeutic.
Should cancer patients even focus on other goals for the coming year? If so, how do you suggest they refocus their lives during treatment?
It’s all about balance. Yes, a treatment schedule can keep patients and their loved ones busy, but this shouldn’t mean that time with family and friends is less important. For example, if you're a guy who always went out to watch football on Sunday, but you're experiencing fatigue from your treatment, consider inviting your friends over instead. That way you can maintain friendships and engage in fun activities outside of treatment.
What are common concerns of cancer patients as they look to the future? How can they address those concerns in a healthy way?
Concerns vary person to person and can be highly specific. The most important thing is to be open about your concerns, whatever they may be, and talk with people who are supportive. If it helps to talk with a trusted friend or family member, then do that. For patients at CTCA, our Mind-Body Medicine teams are available for supportive counseling and can be a positive resource for patients to understand their feelings and emotions during this time. Through open and honest communication, you can gain insight, have your questions answered and strengthen personal relationships.
Read more New Year's advice for cancer patients.