A cancer diagnosis means a profound change for those affected in several areas: physical, mental, social and financial. Initially, the focus is on medical treatment. It’s about operations, lengthy therapies and their side effects. However, the social consequences for those affected and their families quickly become clear and visible.
There are first points of contact in the country’s hospitals for support – such as clinical social work. “In addition to medical care at the highest level, our hospitals also offer a wide range of care options,” says State Governor Deputy and Health Officer Christine Haberlander (VP) on the occasion of World Cancer Day on February 4th.
In addition to advice on social and financial needs, social work in the hospital also includes support in coping with illness as well as the organization and coordination of the help and support needed at home.
Help helps with healing
“We know from experience how stressful the social consequences of cancer are and that they sometimes outweigh the diagnosis itself. If we succeed in alleviating the social burden, this demonstrably improves the success of treatment,” says Ansgar Weltermann, head of the tumor center OO.
In addition, less chronic stress and worries about the job would improve patients’ adherence to therapy, says the oncologist, who also heads the Center for Tumor Diseases at the Ordensklinikum Linz.
Because cancer represents an enormous challenge for those affected and also for their families. Long-term sickness and loss of income are often the result, and single people, single parents and families with small children in particular also have to struggle with financial difficulties. According to German studies, every third person affected no longer has a job after the end of therapy, and many can no longer do their job to the full extent due to side effects such as fatigue. “We know from studies that the living conditions of 40 percent of those suffering from cancer deteriorate,” says Martina Hundertpfund, social worker at the Ordensklinikum Linz. (bar)
A focus You can read about cancer and its consequences in today’s OÖN health magazine.
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