Neuroblastoma is a type of cancer occurring in children. Diagnosis of this condition in children not only affects the children rather it creates a physical, emotional and financial impact on the whole family. Various coping strategies should be implemented to sail through the disease and its treatment.
Coping Methods For Neuroblastoma
As neuroblastoma is one of the most common cancers occurring in children, apart from the coping strategies for children, parents also play a vital role in implementing those strategies. Although the parents are under severe physical, psychological, emotional and financial stress during the treatment of their child for neuroblastoma, parents are almost an essential part of coping strategies suggested by doctors. Further, the coping strategies should also include coping with two types of coping strategies are adopted by the parents. One is the approach coping and the other is avoidant coping3. Following are some of the coping methods for neuroblastoma:
Approach Coping Strategies: Approaching coping strategies are formulated to make the child getting involved with certain things thereby forgetting about his disease. These include expression of feeling which helps to ease out irritation and stress, cognitive restructuring which helps in fighting against the disease and effects of treatment, relaxation techniques helping in improving concentration, and making practical strategies to bring life back to normal. Not only the child but the parent should also get involved in approach coping strategies which include creating a daily routine map, asking questions to doctors, motivating the child and creating a healthy and informative environment.
Avoidance Coping Strategies: Avoidance coping strategies generally incorporates distracting element in it. The patient distracts himself from thinking about the disease by doing the work he is passionate about. Parents can also help the child by making new techniques for promoting distraction.
Coping With Physical Side Effects: Cancer and its treatment take a serious toll on the physical functioning of the body. Proper care should be given to the child during the disease and its treatment. Parents should look for any cancer recurrence. Follow-up care is required for all children treated with cancer4.
Coping With Emotional Effects: Child and the members of the family are under tremendous stress after the cancer is diagnosed. The stress does not end up and continue during treatment. Various relaxation techniques and distraction techniques are quite helpful in coping with emotional stressors such as anxiety, depression, and fear of losing the loved ones.
Coping With Financial Effects: There is no doubt that cancer treatment is expensive. Apart from the cancer treatment, many parents feel that apart from treatment, excess financial responsibilities occur during the child’s care. Managing finances through proper strategies may help in coping with financial effects.
Neuroblastoma Effects On Child
Cancer Treatment Side Effects: As with the treatment of other types of cancer, neuroblastoma treatment results in various side effects. It has been noted that children with more than 3 types of treatment may have late side effects of treatment. These late side effects include hearing loss, thyroid problems, infertility, and neurological problems1. In some cases, the child may also suffer from the opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome.
Social Isolation: Social isolation includes being restricted to home, bullying, and teasing by peers and difficulty in initiating, forming and maintaining a relationship. Apart from being affected by the disease, many children during treatment feared social isolation and also have anxiety related to the treatment procedure.
Emotional Distress: Children diagnosed with cancer are under emotional stress, especially during the first few days after diagnosis. The symptoms of emotional distress experienced by the patients include sadness, irritability, worrying and anger 2.
Altered daily routine: After the diagnosis of neuroblastoma in children, the daily routine gets disrupted. The child misses school and his friends and wanted to be normal again.
Coping strategies include approach coping techniques and avoidance coping techniques. While approach coping technique includes relaxation, cognitive restructuring, and social bonding, avoidance coping techniques include distraction.
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