There are few things in life that are more devastating than hearing that a loved one has cancer. However, it seems that very few of us are destined to go through life without knowing at least one friend or family member who receives a cancer diagnosis. As challenging as a this can be, there have been a lot of advances in research made within the past few years. Many patients find themselves in outpatient settings, which can be much more convenient and less expensive than sitting in a hospital. But this can also be a bit alienating to someone who may be experiencing massive physical and mental strains on a daily basis. The one thing that studies have proven—over and over again—is that having an emotional support system can be a key component for someone who is undergoing treatment for cancer.
People are usually mistaken in believing that their loved one constantly want to discuss their treatment regimen or other aspects of their diagnosis. In this regard, you will want to let them lead the way. Chances are that if they’ve just been to chemotherapy this week, they may want to talk about something else. They may want to go see a movie or just hang out and drink tea. Being part of someone’s support system doesn’t necessarily have to be a heavy responsibility. Checking in on your friend periodically, asking them if they want you to bring them something, may be all that they need. Every case is different, so don’t assume that a loved one’s journey is the same as another’s. Try to be as considerate as you can possibly be; realize that your calendar might not work for them, so try to call them when they have some time to talk. Ask if they need help with chores or errands. You don’t have to break the bank helping someone; many times, the most helpful tasks do not require money. If your loved one’s appearance is different, try not to reveal your emotions about how they look. Remember that cancer may seem a lot worse than it is during certain portions of treatment.
Some organizations have dedicated a great deal of time and funding to the cause, such as the Lefkofsky Foundation. As the co-founder of Tempus, Eric Lefkofsky is a visionary who believes that cancer treatment needs to be brought into the 21st century. With an astute business sense, his endeavors have often been very high-profile, and his somewhat recent foray into the medical field is no different. Tempus is considered a “unicorn” fund, attracting an extraordinary level of investment from heavy hitters in the marketplace. Everyone recognizes that the need for better and more advanced cancer care should be a top priority in our society, and Lefkofsky agrees.
Tempus wants to make it easier for physicians to do the simple things that will enhance their patients’ lives, such as digitizing clinical and molecular data for cancer. With Lefkofsky leading the charge, everyone is hopeful that real results will be generated.