This book offers healthcare professionals, academics and anyone affected by cancer a fresh and original approach to the supportive care of people with cancer. It looks at the underlying reasons why cancer so often leads to high levels of distress and, more importantly, it suggests many practical ways distress can be minimised and prevented. The actual experiences of cancer patients, as recorded in their personal diaries, are combined with theory, research and practical clinical advice. In each of its seven chapters Cancer in Context takes a different perspective towards supportive care in cancer. It begins by considering how people in general manage and adjust to massive changes in their lives and, in particular, how they react to the threat of cancer. It goes on to examine the "lived experience" of people with cancer as they negotiate the many changes and challenges that follow their diagnosis. Of course cancer doesn't only affect the person who has the disease, it also impacts on families, partners and carers. One chapter explores these and other issues, such as sexual difficulties, the needs of older people, single people, and gay and lesbian couples.
Chapter 4 shows that the social and cultural context of a person's life is critical to understanding their resources, the way the are treated, and the responses the make to serious illness. However, it is in the clinical context that professionals have an opportunity to minimise disruption to their patients' quality of life as they endure the notorious demands of oncology treatments. The book offers practical clinical advice on psychosocial aspects of conventional cancer treatments, common treatment difficulties, cancer rehabilitation and palliative care. Chapter 6 provides a summary of the burgeoning area of information and communication skills within healthcare and, finally, the book ends by considering how doctors, nurses, radiographers and other healthcare professionals can maintain their supportive care in light of such high levels of stress and burnout among these staff groups.