4 Challenges to Surviving Pediatric Cancer

4 Challenges to Surviving Pediatric Cancer

A Journey that Requires Physical Strength and Emotional Fortitude

Boy smiling at Lego Land

Surviving cancer is a difficult journey that requires not only physical strength but also mental and emotional fortitude. It is a challenging process that demands significant sacrifices from the patient and their loved ones. Along with the physical aspect of cancer, there are several other components that make it difficult for cancer survivors to overcome. 

1. Social Survival

Social support is critical for cancer patients to cope with their illness and to navigate the challenges of treatment. Social support can come from a variety of sources, including family, friends, support groups, and healthcare professionals. It is essential to have a support system in place to provide emotional and practical support during this challenging time. This can include help with transportation, meal preparation, or even just a listening ear. Research has shown that cancer patients with strong social support have better outcomes than those who do not.

2. Spiritual Survival

Cancer patients often experience a crisis of faith, asking questions such as “Why me?” and “What did I do to deserve this?” Spiritual and religious practices can help cancer patients find meaning and purpose in their illness. For many cancer survivors, faith and spirituality provide a source of hope and comfort during their treatment. This can include prayer, meditation, or attending religious services. Studies have shown that spiritual and religious practices can improve cancer patients’ emotional and psychological well-being and can even have a positive effect on physical health outcomes.

Cancer survivor smiling3. Emotional Survival

Cancer is a traumatic experience that leads to mental health issues, like anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is crucial for cancer patients to receive emotional support to help them cope with these feelings. This can come from family, friends, support groups, or professional counseling. Emotional support can help patients manage their anxiety and depression, which can improve their quality of life and even contribute to better treatment outcomes.

4. Financial Survival

Cancer can be costly – 1 in 4 patients can’t afford the cost of care. The financial burden of treatment can cause significant stress for cancer patients and their families. Medical bills, lost income, and other expenses can quickly add up, leading to financial distress. Patients may be eligible for financial assistance from charities, government programs, or their healthcare provider. It is essential for patients to understand their options for financial support and to seek help if needed.

Cancer survivor smiling next to his birthday cakeSurviving cancer is hard. It requires more than just recovery of physical ability. Pediatric cancer patients are challenged socially, spiritually, emotionally, and financially while battling cancer. Children and families need support systems in place to handle the challenges of cancer treatment.

Faith and spirituality can provide a source of hope and comfort during this difficult time. Emotional support can help patients manage their anxiety and depression, while financial assistance can alleviate the stress of medical bills and expenses. With the help of these essential components, pediatric cancer survivors can overcome the challenges of their illness and move forward with hope and resilience.

Young cancer survivor smiling at the beachHere to Serve has served hundreds of families during their cancer journeys by providing non-medical wrap around services. At Here to Serve, our resource referrals can assist families in finding mental health resources, financial services, transportation, lodging, organizational assistance, spiritual support, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our services, sign up here.

Author: Dr. Ned Swanson

A Board Member for Here to Serve, Dr. Ned Swanson has a unique background combining scientific, clinical, and industry knowledge. He is passionately dedicated to improving outcomes for patients across the entire patient journey, from therapeutic innovation to comprehensive social support.

Information on the Here to Serve website is for educational and informational purposes only. Please consult a medical professional for specific medical guidance. All photos in this article are from the Here to Serve archive.

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  4. National Cancer Institute. Coping With Cancer: Financial, Legal, and Work Issues. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/adjusting-to-cancer/financial-legal-and-work-issues
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