Being diagnosed with cancer can come as unexpected news and can be difficult to cope with financially, emotionally and physically. 1 in 2 people will develop some form of cancer during their lifetime.
There are more than 200 different types of cancer, and each is diagnosed and treated in a particular way.
Every cancer treatment can cause side effects or changes to your body and how you feel. Changes to your physical health depend on several factors, including the cancer’s stage, the length and dose of treatment, and your general health.
Having cancer affects you in many different ways. For example, life with cancer and the demands of treatment are often stressful – for both you and those close to you. Treatment for this type of cancer may also cause lasting changes to your body’s appearance or function. These are challenges you do not have to face alone.
A recent example where the Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) was able to be of assistance was to Adam and his family.
Adam was referred to EIC by MacMillan after being diagnosed with colorectal cancer in May 2018 and undergoing surgery. Adam had served thirty years in our industry and underwent surgery to remove the rectal cancer. Adam now has a stoma bag, as like many people who have been treated for colorectal cancer, he has difficulty eating and the physical side effects can last after treatment ends. Adam has lost over 3 stone in weight and he needs to change his clothes and bedding frequently due to his condition. Treating long-term side effects is an important part of survivorship care.
In addition to Adam’s battle with cancer, he has a 14-year-old son who suffers from Aniridia, which is a rare condition where the iris (the coloured part of your eye) has not formed properly, so it may be missing or underdeveloped. Most people with aniridia have a central part of their retina that is not fully developed, and many have nystagmus, a constant and involuntary movement of the eyes since birth ("Aniridia", 2019).
Adams son is registered blind but does have some sight. He now attends a mainstream school and receives one to one school support.
Cancer treatment can be expensive. It is often a big source of stress and anxiety. In addition to treatment costs, many people find they have extra, unplanned expenses related to their care. For some people, the high cost of medical care stops them from following or completing their cancer treatment plan. This can put their health at risk and may lead to higher costs in the future.
EIC is on hand to help during tough times in order to make it that little bit easier. The support EIC provides comes in the form of its Employee and Family Support Programme (EFP) which offers practical assistance, financial grants and other help to support both the person directly affected and their family members. These services are funded by generous donations and fundraising activities. Due to the many hospital appointments Adam stopped working in 2004 and he and his family have been managing on benefits. The family contacted the charity for support towards the cost of new beds. Their son was sleeping on a child's bed which has a futon rather than a proper mattress and the mattress on their bed, was 15 years old and unhygienic.
The charity sourced and funded two beds in support of the family’s circumstances. The assistance in the purchase of the new beds has been invaluable to improving their quality of life, as sleep is an important part of both physical and mental health.
While we sleep, the brain and body do a number of important jobs that help us stay in good health and function at our best. Getting the sleep, we need improves our ability to learn, remember, and solve problems, it helps to lower blood pressure and gives the heart and blood vessels the rest they need. Also, for both Adam and his son, sleep can help the repair of cells and tissues, the immune system and appetite.
It is shown that sleep disorders are more common in people with cancer, with as many as half of patients with cancer having problems sleeping.
Providing new beds for Adam and his son has been a wonderful benefit to their health and wellbeing.