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II. Symptoms and Strategies
In keeping with Plato's discovery over 2,000 years ago that the physical and psychological elements of man are inextricably linked, health professionals today believe that a combination of medical therapy and supportive care offers the best chance to maintain a patient's quality of life. Such comprehensive care addresses a wide range of needs.
For example, obtaining relief from pain, nausea, or fatigue restores a feeling of calm and well-being. Getting sufficient sleep, appropriate exercise, and good nutrition are energizing. Discussing one's negative feelings candidly with others who have cancer can empower us. It can help alleviate the feeling of being alone. Attention to each of these components can help restore the freedom to act and to choose life.
This section touches on some potential problem areas where advice and support from cancer professionals and other cancer patients can be useful. We have also tried to share with you how supportive care services can alleviate the side effects of treatment, help you maintain your quality of life, and allow you to continue with new hope and strength.
Pain, difficulty sleeping, nausea, increased forgetfulness, sexual problems, and muscle atrophy can have a negative impact on a person's quality of life. For cancer patients, who may experience several or all of these difficulties at once, the pleasures can seem to drain out of life. Whether these problems are caused by the disease itself, or its treatment, diminishing or eliminating them is an essential part of achieving a better quality of life.
The good news is that many of these issues can be addressed through medication, open communication, and adjustments to your daily routine. If you are experiencing one of these problems, talk with your health care team, a family member, a friend, or a member of the clergy. There are solutions!
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