Anyone who receives a cancer diagnosis faces unique challenges, and the healthcare professionals who choose to help them have remarkable talents and abilities. The desire to assist sets them apart from others by providing the motivation and inspiration that gives deep meaning to serving people when they need it at a critical time in their lives. The ability to share medical and caregiving skills in a compassionate and understanding way can create an impact on patients that makes a difference in the fight against cancer.
Providing Nurturing Care for Cancer Patients
Patients need support from caregivers who possess a wide range of interests and abilities, and they appreciate everything that treatment professionals can offer. The work provides rewards from the challenges that it brings along with the joy of seeing a patient enjoy a successful recovery. Anyone who has compassion, and expresses it by caring for others, may find rewarding careers in providing cancer treatment. This field offers excellent opportunities for first-time job seekers and for mid-career workers who want to change directions and choose a path that brings extraordinary rewards.
Finding a Satisfying Area of Interest in Cancer Treatment
Cancer patients require the services of different professional specialists. At Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), some employees provide administrative and hospitality services while others offer medical treatment. The National Cancer Institute lists some challenging and rewarding jobs in cancer care.
A side effect of cancer treatment may cause patients to lose their appetite and have little interest in eating. Some have digestive problems that dietitians can try to alleviate with recommendations for healthy food that tastes good and digests quickly. ASCO Cancer Net recognizes that patients can risk weight loss and potential malnutrition that dietitians can address with nutritional supplements and education along with providing links to counseling and community activities.
- Mental Health Professional
The challenge of facing and recovering from cancer may present the most difficult circumstances that anyone may encounter. The mental health profession offers a meaningful way to assist patients during a transitional period. At CTCA, patients receive support through the mind-body program that focuses on caregivers as well as patients throughout the treatment process. Mental health professionals develop caring relationships that reinforce therapy to enhance the well-being of individuals. Mind-body medicine incorporates aspects of the whole person to include emotional and behavioral factors that affect the mental outlook and social behavior.
Cancer treatment teams usually include more nurses than anyone else, and they provide medical care as a primary part of the job. Patients ask them questions and often look to them for hope and support. They may give patients guidance on discussing their health issues with family members and friends who come to visit them. Nurses provide a unifying aspect to care that offers reassurance and comfort when patients need it the most. Oncology nurses care for cancer patients by monitoring physical conditions and prescribing medicines, administering chemotherapy, and facing different challenges every day.
- Occupational Therapist
Cancer treatment may require patients to learn new coping skills that allow them to return to a productive lifestyle. Occupational therapists can focus on how to take care of eating, dressing, and bathing after treatment. Adult cancer patients can experience a functional decline that may result in intolerance of treatment and an increase in hospitalization. Occupational therapists can reduce the risk of falls and improve functional status that enhances a patient’s quality of life.
- Oncology Social Worker
Cancer patients often need an opportunity to talk to a counselor who understands the emotional issues that concern them. An oncology social worker can help patients efficiently deal with the physical and psychological problems that face them. As a professional who knows the community, a social worker can recommend resources that offer support programs and educational materials. Patients at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota or Dana Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center in Boston or elsewhere may need assistance with matters that create stress, and a knowledgeable professional may know how to connect them with experts who can help.
- Patient Counselor
Cancer hospitals and treatment centers often provide jobs for educators who can help patients find information that fits their needs. Families can benefit from learning about the different types of cancer, treatments and side effects. Experts know that cancer makes people feel distressed, and most hospitals offer access to patient counselors who can help patients work through stress-related issues.
Recovery from cancer may require patients to take drugs, and pharmacists can teach them about the proper way to use the prescriptions. Some medications may have side effects and others may have incompatibilities with food that patients need to avoid. Pharmacists can explain to patients the danger of mixing drugs and the importance of staying out of the sun when exposure can cause harm. As a member of the cancer treatment team who remains in touch with patients, an oncology pharmacist plays a vital role in recovery. The preparation of chemotherapy doses, safety checks, research, and education of patients puts them in the mainstream of delivery of critical services to patients.
Most patients need a team of doctors who confer on recommendations for drugs or treatments that provide the support that may lead to recovery.
- Physical Therapist
Exercise can help patients regain strength and movement with guidance from professionals who can demonstrate proper techniques. Physical therapists help patients design an exercise program that focuses on light resistance and range of motion training. CTCA supports therapeutic exercises that minimize fatigue and increase physical function to enhance patient safety and overall well-being.
Former world weightlifting champion Karyn Marshall was able to summon her competitive spirit when she was diagnosed with #breastcancer. Learn more about Karyn at: https://t.co/wk3RtWmnvi pic.twitter.com/DuQ7Pwppfi
— CTCA (@CancerCenter) February 8, 2018
- Speech Therapist
The effects of cancer treatment may cause problems with swallowing or speech, and therapists can contribute to patients’ well-being through understanding and practice. Oncology Rehab recommends intervention for patients of radiation, surgery, or chemotherapy. The skills of a therapist can help patients who experience a decrease in range of motion, scar bands, severe fibrosis, and complications from reconstructive surgery.
Applying Skills to Make a Difference
Hospitals and treatment centers such as Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and many other providers that specialize in serving cancer patients need idealistic, trained and qualified workers in every aspect of delivering care. The U.S. News and World Report publishes a list of cancer care providers in locations all over the country. Centers that offer treatment need qualified workers to provide the support that cancer patients count on them to provide.