I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 years ago. When the doctor confirmed the diagnosis, I was shocked because I never expected to be impacted by cancer. I felt really scared and worried. I think what I needed the most at that time was emotional support and to be comforted by family and friends, especially by friends who are cancer survivors. I have a friend from Seattle who had Stage 3 Breast Cancer and she shared with me information about her treatment, procedures, her physical and emotional challenges, and what kind of food and nutrition is good for cancer patients. She also shared with me her success recovery experience and that was very encouraging. I felt that I’m not alone.
Another need that is really important for a cancer patient is the most current and updated medical information and resources about my particular cancer because the unknown is really scary. On the other hand, too much information is overwhelming. I think I need the appropriate amount of accurate information from my oncologist and also from the hospital. I think with all of the advancement in treatment and new technology, cancer is not that scary anymore. It may not be a terminal disease and there is hope for a cure. If I am well informed, then it will take away a lot of my anxiety and worries.
Another needed service that I feel is very important, especially for Asians, is the language service. It’s even difficult for someone like myself who speaks English to find my way around different buildings, different levels, then different departments. It must be incredibly challenging for a patient who doesn’t speak English. I think we need to provide more language-specific information, especially for different cultural groups.
As a cancer patient, it’s a very difficult journey already. If we can get support from the family, from the community, and also from friends who have had similar experiences, and have access to culturally and linguistically specific services, that will make the journey a little easier.