Side Effects or Symptoms? Fear Not! – Talk about them for better care

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It has been found out that many cancer patients, especially those diagnosed with sarcomas, a type of solid cancer, keep silent about their symptoms under the misguided notion that they might be having side effects from medication. The study was done by the National University of Singapore (NUS) and National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS).

Loss of sleep and appetite are the most common of the symptoms that patients refrained from reporting to their care-givers and/or doctors. The study indicated that although one-third of patients studied experienced difficulty in sleeping, only 6.3 % sought help. Similarly, for the 30 % of patients who felt loss of their appetite, only one sought pharmacological treatment.

This study has been eye-opening to care givers and doctors about patients’ behaviour and tolerance towards certain nagging symptoms. Doctors feel they will now be more aware of such behaviour and “will certainly be on the lookout and actively ask about these symptoms”.

Good news to patients is the upcoming group-based psycho-social programme targeting young adults. This trial program will aim to orient young patients towards what they can expect during therapy and monitor their psychological symptoms to holistically improve care and understanding of the patient.

These findings also serve as a reminder to patients to talk to caregivers and actively seek help from the support system that is in place to help them beat the disease. So patients, talk to you loved ones about your concerns, even if you think it is trivial! After all, a healthy mind and body can conquer even the worst adversaries!

More details here.