Family and the Diagnosis of Terminal Cancer

The day when someone in the family gets diagnosed with cancer will most likely be a day of sadness and disbelief. Thoughts will be scattered and questions will be asked about the injustice of life. The emotional turmoil and financial expectations will begin to pile up too, threatening to overwhelm the importance of helping that member of the family accept their condition, in order for them to live with integrity and quality.

Below are some of the challenges any family might face in such trying times:

Acceptance of major changes about to happen

The diagnosis of cancer with any member of the family brings about inevitable change, especially if that individual is the sole provider. The family’s current lifestyle will suffer immediately for instance – evoking anger, fear and worry.

Adults will come to assume new roles, requiring other members of the family step up. It is vital that a strong support system falls into place. This will allow the family to better cope with their new status quo. The eldest in the family might need to sit down with their younger siblings and explain the situation in a way that they will understand. They should also be prepared to deal with an imminent death, should all the treatment options prove ineffective.

Assumption of roles and dealing with financial constraint

Healthcare is never cheap, especially when it comes to cancer. As mentioned, if the family’s breadwinner is diagnosed with cancer, the assumption of new roles will ensue. This could require the mother to work longer hours, or other adult members of the family to pitch in. Someone must also take up the role of guardian at home, to see to the sick person’s needs.

However, this may not be possible for all families. Children will need to go to school and the rest will need to earn much-needed income. While this is mostly the case everywhere from Utah to Indiana, palliative care might be a way to alleviate a bit of the stress. With palliative care, affected families will be empowered to move and look for additional ways to contribute.

Establishing a strong support system

Cancer often catches people unaware. It won’t be surprising to see some members of the family break down in tears, unable to continue with their routine. Some of the children might not be capable of dealing with the knowledge, making it hard on them to continue school. Teenagers might even turn to drinking and other vices.

In these harrowing times, friends might be able to help. A strong support system is vital in order for every member to cope well and accept the impending loss. But when all else fails, always consider calling for professional help. These trained individuals are capable of doing wonders when it comes to shifting the outlook of those in distress.


It is unfortunate when cancer befalls one member of the family. However, it is vital for everyone to keep it together and stay strong. Never hesitate to ask for assisted help whenever the situation becomes too tough to handle.

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