Continuing with my thread about where and why blogs and other internet sites sometimes get their material, here is a third example of an article written with an undisclosed agenda–although a very small one.

Almost a month ago, a young, freelance writer, Jessica Handel, contacted me about  running a feature on our Help With Cancer.org site.  When I pointed-out that we don’t pay for material here at HWC, Jessica reassured me that there would be no charge.

GREAT!  Jessica  seems to be a talented young writer with a lot to share.

But she also told me–right up front–that she would be paid every time a reader clicked-on one of the embedded links in the story.

I’m OK with that.  But like copy that is distributed by a law office trying to recruit plaintiffs for a class action lawsuit against a pharmaceutical company like I ran a few days back,  I feel that full disclosure is important so the reader can weigh any agenda or bias.

So while I usually don’t run “free content” like I have the last three days, I felt I could make an exception for example’s sake.

And the bottom line is I don’t begrudge a fellow writer from trying to earn a few bucks.  Truth-be-told, the reason I don’t post more content like  Jessica’s here is that I prefer a patient’s or health care professional’s perspective.  I also like to feature more specific suggestions about how to make our lives better.  I also prefer features which offer more specific tips and suggestions that may help cancer patients, survivors and caregivers live better lives.

Does this article have value to you?  See what you think…

Coping With Cancer: Physically, Practically and Emotionally

By Jessica Handel

A cancer diagnosis is, naturally, difficult to cope with. It is one of those things that most of us try not to think about, until it happens. Then when it does, we find it difficult to know how to react. Cancer brings out some powerful emotions, both in ourselves and those around us. Most people find a cancer diagnosis frightening, and often find it hard to share that emotion with others. Cancer treatment can also be difficult to deal with, sometimes bringing up issues around body image and relationships, and sometimes causing trauma. All these and many other reactions to cancer are very common, and very normal. That does not mean that they are easy to cope with, but there are some things you can do to make things easier for yourself.

Body and Mind

Cancer’s effects are both emotional and physical. As for those who do not have cancer, the body and mind are linked to each other. If you can keep yourself mentally strong, and be as kind to your body as you can, then you will be able to deal with your cancer more effectively. It is never easy, but there are things you can do to make your cancer journey a smoother one. It is easy to fall prey to depression and anxiety if you have cancer, and while you cannot do anything about the fact that you have cancer, you can do something about your responses to it. No-one is saying that’s easy to do, but if you can see your cancer treatment as holistic, extending far beyond your chemotherapy and surgery, then you will help yourself to deal with the disease.

Physical Health

We wrote about how exercise can help people with cancer here. Exercise might be the last thing you feel like doing, but keeping active can help make you more resilient, and better able to deal with the treatment you are undergoing. Research is now showing that exercise could even help boost survival rates in breast and colon cancer patients. Some experts recommend that cancer patients should undertake around two-and-a-half hours of exercise each week. This can help overcome fatigue and weight gain, and help you feel more positive about your treatment.

Diet is also important, as our diet is inextricably linked to our physical and mental health. Eating well can make you stronger, helping your body to fight back and helping you to feel better. Cancer treatment can make eating difficult, and can interfere with the absorption of nutrients, as can the disease itself. Speak to your doctors about diet: they should see your diet as a way of supporting your treatment. You may need to vary your diet depending on the stage of treatment you are at. There is some good, detailed information on diet here.

Practical Support          

You need to make sure that you get support from others when you have cancer, and you should also do everything you can to support yourself. Make life as easy as you can for yourself. Many people worry about finances, but try and make sure you don’t have to. Get advice on how to use any insurance or savings you have wisely to get you through your treatment. If you have friends or family who can help you, do not feel ashamed if you have to ask them to transfer moneyto help you out. They’ll probably be glad they can do something practical to help. If you are a parent, especially if you are a single parent, childcare might be one of your worries. Again, be willing to lean on those around you and accept any help that you are offered. Always look to lessen the practical burden on yourself as much as you can.

Emotional Help

Dealing with the emotional effects of cancer is the hardest part of dealing with the disease. If you follow the advice above on physical health and practical help, you will be in the best possible position to keep yourself mentally healthy too. If you keep yourself mentally healthy, then you will be better able to follow your diet and exercise plans and deal with practical issues: it is a virtuous circle.

Everyone has different ways of dealing with emotions, but you must find a way of dealing with them. Talking is often the first step: you may find a counselor easier to talk to than a friend. Try and develop strategies for coping. There are some good suggestions here, but you may have your own. Meditation and relaxation techniques help many people. You could try these as part of a yoga or tai chi program, or you could do them alone. The important thing is to take active steps to cope, and recognize that you do have the strength to do so. It is just a question of finding it.

Thanks for sharing your work with us,Jessica!  Maybe our new friend would consider writing a follow-up feature which includes specific tips on ways to make our lives better.

Feel good and keep smiling!  Pat

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