July is Bone Cancer Awareness Month
July is the month dedicated to bone cancer awareness. Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma, and chondrosarcoma are the most common bone cancers. Like all types of cancers, a diagnosis of bone cancer means understanding the illness, getting through treatment, and adjusting to life after completing treatment.
Also, like many cancers, the treatment of bone cancers often involves multiple stages. It can include chemotherapy, radiation, in addition to surgery. The order and choice of these treatments vary from case to case, but bone cancer almost always involves surgery. There might be surgery to remove the cancerous tumor, to remove and/or replace part of the affected limb where the cancer is or, at times, to remove the entire diseased limb.
The physical and emotional side effects of such bone cancer surgeries can be the most difficult facing cancer patients. Coming to terms with losing all or part of a limb is a huge adjustment, especially when a patient must still endure chemo or radiation.
Bone Cancer Affects Children and Young Adults: Parents as Caregivers Face Challenges
Most patients diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma are children. According to the American Cancer Society, most osteosarcoma patients are diagnosed during adolescence. Most Ewing sarcoma patients receive their diagnosis between the ages of 10-20.
Therefore, parents are, more often than not, the primary caregivers for these young victims of cancer. For a parent with a child facing bone cancer, the emotional toll can be overwhelming. It is crucial that among all cancer caregivers, parents of children with cancer receive support and help. If they are not taking care of themselves, they cannot take care of their child.
Helping your child battle bone cancer means that your personal feelings of guilt, sadness, disappointment, hopelessness, and fear will be pushed aside to provide support, encouragement, optimism, and strength to the patient, siblings, and others. You must also help them navigate their feelings of despair and anxiety.
You, your spouse, other children, and the cancer patient will have different needs and experiences.
Take Care Of Yourself So You Can Take Care Of The Cancer Patient
Whether the person in your life with bone cancer is your child, a friend, a spouse, or another love done, being a reliable caregiver starts with taking care of yourself. It might seem hard to do when you are so focused on the patient, but you must avoid caregiver burnout. How can you do this?
- Eat right
- Avoid alcohol and drugs
- Seek counseling or a support group
- Find time to exercise
- Find time to socialize
- Share responsibilities
- Stay connected to people who you can talk to openly and honestly
If you know someone battling bone cancer, it is a long and difficult journey. Doing these small things can help avoid caregiver burnout.
Send Gifts to Your Friend With Cancer
Consider acknowledging bone cancer awareness month by sending the cancer patient in your life a gift box from Rock The Treatment. At Rock the Treatment, we make it easy to let someone with cancer know you care and support them on their difficult journey. If someone you love has bone cancer or any other type of cancer, send a helpful cancer gift basket from Rock The Treatment. Chemotherapy and radiation gift baskets are packed with the essentials needed to ease side effects of treatment, as well as enhance physical and mental well-being. See all of our cancer care packages and find the one that best supports their journey.