What Next After Diagnosis and Intervention
Following the diagnosis of breast cancer, women’s journey’s lives take a very long and winding spiral turn. From this moment, all a woman need is a listening ear, a word of comfort and an accurate-timely line of care.
Fortunately, the devolved health system in Kenya provides access to specialized care in most health facilities both public and private service providers. This means that as soon as a diagnosis is made, timely support and care is feasible; albeit with some limitations in skilled attendance in some areas. In such instances, upward referral channels come to play creating pathways to access to care and support. As such, nobody should be locked out the care system because of geographic or economic factors.
This is the time to step up care and support for affected persons and their families at every stage of the breast cancer journey. Following a confirmed diagnosis, appropriate management plan is developed, often involving surgery or surgery along with radiation. This is an emotional challenging time for a woman and her family.
To effectively navigate the complications of post-operative breast cancer, it is important for the patient’s care plan to address the critical phases of recovery and adaption. The person must comprehend the multifaceted nature of the journey. In the realm of oncology, it is important for the patient care plan to reflect a critical phase towards recovery and adaptation. This holistic approach should encompass not only medical expertise but also empathy, emotional support, aesthetics and meticulous attention to detail when providing timely compassionate care during the following three key stages:
Post-surgery Breast cancer: Lumpectomy or
mastectomy may result in emotional consequences, and proper wound care for scars is essential. Managing physical discomfort such as
pain, swelling and limited mobility is a priority.
Emotional Impact post-surgery related to body
image and grief over the loss of a breast, can
be alleviated through support and counseling.
Lymphedema, characterized by swelling in the
arm or hand needs attention.
Radiation therapy: While effective in treating cancer, radiation can leave lasting effects. Proper skincare and moisturizing are vital to address skin sensitivity and Changes to alleviate discomfort, Fatigue, Breast Changes. There may be long-term effects, such as increased risk of heart problems or secondary cancers.
Chemotherapy: A potent treatment that can have lasting effects on your body. Chemotherapy often leads to Persistent fatigue experienced for several weeks or months after treatment. Rest and gentle exercise can help alleviate sfatigue. Hair loss is experienced although regrowth is assured. Nausea, vomiting, and digestive problems can occur but are manageable. A weakened immune system is exposed to susceptible infections, this needs meticulous hygiene.
Embracing a Healthy Lifestyle is paramount for breast cancer survivors, balanced diet composing of fruits, vegetables, antioxidants, lean proteins, Limiting processed foods, sugar, and excessive caffeine. Regular Exercise, including activities like yoga and meditation can help combat fatigue, improve mood, boost overall wellness. Adequate quality sleep is vital for healing and maintaining energy levels. Emotional Support, through counseling services and cancer support groups is invaluable to help cope with emotional toll of breast cancer.
Care and Support for breast cancer patients is a comprehensive and compassionate approach that combines medical expertise, emotional support, family and attention to the patient’s overall well-being, including their physical and emotional needs, family and mental wellness.
My Parting shot: IT IS TIME! STAND UP! ADD OUR VOICES TO THE BREAST CANCER SILENCE!
Josephine Adoli, Manager-Provider Relations