Eastern Mediterranean University (EMU) Dr. Fazıl Küçük Faculty of Medicine Academic Staff Member, Clinical and Health Psychologist Naife Sevdalı Zaim released a statement regarding 1-7 April Cancer Week which reads as follows:
“The frequency of cancer cases is constantly increasing. Being diagnosed with cancer affects individuals physically, socially and psychologically. In addition to many physical problems, psychological problems can negatively affect both the course of the illness and its treatment. Patients require psycho-social support because of the long and intense treatment of cancer. Individuals may require different forms of psycho-social support depending on their personality, expectations, type of cancer and treatment method. Therefore when planning cancer treatment, a program should include physiological support as well as physical.
After being diagnosed with cancer individuals feel hopeless and in psychological imbalance. As every individual is different their reaction to cancer will also be different. Anxiety and depression can be caused by financial difficulties stemming from treatment expenses, constantly needing someone, uncertainty towards the future and the fear of death.
Most cancer patients suffer psycho-social problems as a result of psychological and physiological factors that lead to changes in their relationship with people in their close circle. The diagnosis of cancer can sometimes bring family members closer together whilst sometimes pulling them apart. Family members who don’t know how to approach the patient can keep their distance instead of coming closer. This can cause social isolation for the patient who expects social and psychological support from their family members and friends. The social support provided by friends, family members and institutions contributes to the patient emotionally, spiritually, materially and cognitively. Physical and psychological support meets certain needs of patients such as feeling valued, loved, respected and it helps increase their confidence and self-respect. In summary, social support helps cancer patients deal with physical and psychological problems increasing their quality of life.
Research on cancer and social support has shown that psychological support strengthens the immune system and extends peoples’ lives. It indicates that female cancer patients who attend psychological support groups live twice as long as those who don’t. In conclusion psycho-oncological treatment is an inseparable part of general treatment.”