More than 16.9 million people have survived cancer in America (National Cancer Survivors Day, 2020). This is a result of prevention, early detection of cancer cells, advanced treatment, and following up diagnosis. However, recovering from cancer is not just about healing the body, it is also about healing the mind. Physical, emotional, and financial hardships are often some of the challenges that cancer survivors battle. For this reason, America is at the forefront of helping cancer survivors increase their life quality after treatment. It is important to the patients because it helps them overcome the fear, grief, loneliness, and being at greater risk of contracting other diseases. It is also crucial for the healthcare community because it relieves them the burden of dealing with more diseases that come as a result of low -quality life. Through caring for cancer survivors, the healthcare community also gets a chance of discovering helpful ways to tackle the disease. Oklahoma is the 7th state where cases of cancer are more prevalent in America with approximately 20, 540 new cases every year, 8,450 deaths, and 12, 090 survivors (Stephenson Cancer center, 2020).
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The national and state goal is to increase mental and physical health-related quality of life for cancer survivors. Since 1949, the world health organization (WHO) has stressed that being healthy is a state of upright physical, mental, and social well-being of individuals and not just the absence of disease (Kuhn & Rieger, 2017). This means improving the quality of life, healthy development, mental thinking, and health behaviors across all stages of life for cancer survivors. Physically, the patients’ bodies are distorted due to the frequent chemotherapies they go through. Also, some types of cancers like skin cancer leaves the skin distorted and this affects the self-confidence aspect of the patients. They tend to live in embarrassment and fear due to the marks left by cancer. For this reason, finding ways of clearing those marks such as providing them with creams would boost their self-esteem. In Oklahoma, the state is a step further in achieving this goal. Some non-profit organizations have emerged and are helping breast cancer survivors improve their mental and physical life. One of these charity organizations is Breast Cancer Survivors Oklahoma (BCSO) whose mission is to assist, comfort, encourage, bring hope, and support to those fighting breast cancer. Also, there a significantly good number of therapists located at the state to assist the survivors.
Resources for helping cancer survivors in Oklahoma are provided by the American Cancer Society and other non-profit organizations. They include clinical trials, financial assistance, travel assistance, advice, and housing assistance. For example, about air transportation, the American Cancer Society has partnered with Air Charity Network to provide free transport to both cancer patients and survivors. Another example is financial aid to cancer survivors and their families. Fifth Season Financial is a non-profit organization that helps patients in Oklahoma. It helps them pay their bills and insures them against other chronic diseases. The organization has so far utilized over $115 million to help approximately 400 families across the state (Fifth Season, 2018). The third example is about the Look Good Feel Better (LGFB) program. The program aims at helping women deal with the transformation of the body that comes as a result of cancer. The organization has licensed cosmetologists that show women how to take care of their skins like using make-up to regain a sense of self-confidence. The program also deals with encouraging patients on their emotional well-being to both men and women. All those are resources aimed at increasing the life quality of cancer survivors.
The resources for improving the quality of life of the patients are not adequate. In my opinion, I wish lessons were introduced in schools to teach learners how to take care of their parents who have undergone the cancer crisis. The most basic reason being cancer survivors are also parents with children. Sometimes their children develop negative attitudes towards the parents because of fear of being stigmatized. Therefore, if these children are also taught about looking after their parents with care while at home, it could increase parents’ happiness. This way, I believe it is a way of increasing the life quality of cancer survivors.
This information will help me understand what cancer survivors go through and how I can help cancer survivors regain their physical, mental, emotional, and social-being health. Understanding the available resources within my area will enable me to recommend some patients who are not aware of the helpful resources. To the cancer survivors, they will be able to gain self-confidence and take further steps in their health. Those who have lost hope will understand that there is still life after recovering cancer. Through the available resources like non-profit organizations, they will gain financial, mental, physical, and social aid. This way, their life will improve in quality.
Fifth Season. (2018, December 3). Financial assistance for cancer patients in Oklahoma. Retrieved from https://www.fifthseasonfinancial.com/blog/financial-resources-for-cancer-patients-in-oklahoma/
Kühn, S., & Rieger, U. M. (2017). Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases, 13(5), 887. DOI: 10.1016/j.soard.2017.01.046
National Cancer Survivors’ Day. (2020). Cancer survivorship issues. Retrieved from https://www.ncsd.org/cancer-survivorship-issues
Stephenson Cancer Center. (2020). Cancer in Oklahoma. Retrieved from https://stephensoncancercenter.org/Outreach/Outreach-Resources-and-Programs/Cancer-in-Oklahoma