Written by Blog, International Days, The Union

Cancer patients and their families

Today is the day dedicated to World Cancer Day. On this day we stress the importance of taking care of ourselves to prevent cancer, to do the necessary tests so that if there is cancer, it is detected early, and we receive the necessary treatment. Cancer is not easy, and the journey is different and unique for each patient. It is therefore very important that we listen to what the doctors tell us and pay attention to any symptoms or pain we feel in order to give accurate information to the person who is looking after our treatment.

People who have cancer and are undergoing treatment need a lot of help and support, but it’s not just about the patients. Sometimes we forget the rest of the family that stays with the patients, especially in this time of pandemic, which is an even more difficult and challenging time. The whole family needs a caregiver working together to protect the family member at risk.

What can companies do to support vulnerable people and their families?

In the interview which the GWU conducted with Martina Fenech, she tells us that many companies adopted work-at-home policies during the pandemic. Those undergoing cancer treatment have a great benefit for themselves and family members who have special permission and can work from home every day, not just during the pandemic. The same work can be done when patients are in hospital for treatment, even abroad.

The GWU stresses that companies should always include all workers even those who may be absent from office due to illness. Patients undergoing cancer treatment have the right to choose whether or not they want to continue working.

Companies can even introduce initiatives between workers and offer some hours of their leave to fellow workers who are sick or to their family members.

Patient students are entitled to receive the education entitled to them. What can be done to prevent them from missing out on treatment?

Martina tells us that when she was going through cancer treatment, she had to repeat a year of school. She worked hard to prevent other students from going through the same situation, and before the pandemic, a hospital room was set up where students could do schoolwork. During the pandemic, many schools introduced online classes, and it was very beneficial for the young patients to be able to continue their lessons with their peers. Martina urges that as many schools as possible start offering this service and continue to do so after the pandemic, because cancer patients are vulnerable every day and not just during the pandemic.

Martina adds that because of the pandemic, medical teams in hospitals are doing more than what their office requires of them. They are more willing than ever to support patients who are alone in the hospital because their relatives cannot visit them at the moment.

There will be an online conference at National Cancer Platform from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 4. During this conference, we will talk about the challenges cancer patients and their families are going through because of the pandemic and how we can make their lives a little easier.