Paper on Cancer Patients need more Emotional Support than Drugs

Cancer Patients need more Emotional Support than Drugs

The research topic I have settled on for the purposes of this writing project revolves around the healthcare system and its plan for cancer patients. The research question I seek to answer is whether cancer patients need more emotional support than drugs. My concern is what the community should do to enhance the quality of life of cancer patients given the numerous challenges they face in their struggle to get healed. My choice of this topic is inspired by my interest in solving the conundrum around the treatment and healing process of cancer patients. There exist several assumptions that cancer is one of the deadliest and most dangerous diseases worldwide and that failure to identify it in early stages could complicate the treatment process and ultimately lead to death. Several articles focusing on cancer patients reveal shocking details of what cancer patients endure during the treatment process. I recently went through an article arguing that cancer patients encounter emotional challenges besides the physical challenges of treatment. I was appalled by the statement that dealing with the adverse effects of radiation and chemotherapy treatments sets the stage for emotional problems such as anxiety, fear, and depression among cancer patients. Unfortunately, most healthcare professionals handling these patients do not understand the importance of addressing how a patient copes in addition to how they feel from a physical perspective.

Various organizations dealing with cancer treatment such as argue that many individuals are often shocked and express disbelief once they are diagnosed with cancer. further alludes that these patients go through periods of distress characterized by anger and depression, and in worst cases, hopelessness and guilt. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), between 15 and 25 percent of individuals diagnosed with cancer suffer from prolonged depression, which often results from stress sparked by complex treatments and the associated worry from family members and friends. Other than focusing on providing treatments, addressing the depression cancer patients through providing emotional support could have positive impacts on quality of life (Johnson Memorial Health, 2017). Research indicates that the provision of emotional support to cancer patients could help to prevent numerous incidences of suicide witnessed worldwide among these patients. In my research, I came across various ways healthcare professionals and the community can offer emotional support to cancer patients. According to the American Cancer Society, some of the best ways of providing emotional support to cancer patients include encouraging rather than forcing them to talk, sharing fears and feelings that healthcare providers and family members, as well as the anxious cancer patients, may bear, listening carefully to their needs and feeling, and offering counselling services through support groups or counselling professionals.

I firmly believe that the topic I have chosen is appropriate for the writing project. It is in line with the various courses I have studied. It presents real problems encountered in today’s global healthcare sector. Currently, stakeholders in the healthcare sector are seeking to identify some of the challenges cancer patients face in their search for treatment. Also, it is evident that authorities in the healthcare sector focus more on treatment as highlighted by the increased research and investment on drug provision (Namkoong et al., 2013). Unfortunately, the efforts are far from addressing the challenges cancer patients face, especially the emotional challenges such as depression and anxiety contributing to the increased mortality among these patients. Until I went through suggestions by the American Cancer Society and what they believe can be done when it comes to emotionally supporting cancer patients, I had not come up with strategies or ways of achieving the objective. The most important aspect is having healthcare professionals provide drugs alongside emotional support to enhance the quality of life among cancer patients. With the two approaches, the fight against cancer could be destined to success in the coming years.

Topic/Working Thesis

  1. My research topic is: Cancer patients face a lot of emotional challenges in addition to the physical challenges they encounter and need more emotional support than drugs. The focus should be on what ways the community can achieve this objective.
  2. Working hypothesis: diagnosis with cancer is always an overwhelming, depressing, and frightening experience for most individuals. The greatest problem in the contemporary society is that the focus during the treatment phase is on the provision of drugs rather than providing emotional or psychological support to cancer patients. The situation must be changed for the better and the focus should be more on providing emotional support than drugs.
  3. Working Thesis: Although drugs play a crucial role during the treatment phase of cancer, the patients’ encounter emotional challenges that surpass their physical challenges hence the need for more emotional support than drugs.

Research Strategy Plan

  1. What must I discover in my research?


Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide hence the concern by global healthcare stakeholders to treat individuals diagnosed with the same. People tend to focus more on treatment approaches such as chemotherapy, radiation, and the use of strong drugs that have adverse impacts on the patients’ health and quality of life. Research indicates that people focus less on the fact that between 15 and 25 percent of cancer patients are adversely affected by emotional challenges such as depression (Luszczynska, Boehmer, Knoll, Schulz, & Schwarzer, 2007). Our healthcare system does not prioritize emotional support as a way of improving the quality of life among cancer patients.

Research Questions

Is our healthcare system adequate? What are the services provided to cancer patients? Why is there more focus on drugs than emotional support for cancer patients? What needs to be done?


A lot is being done to address the cancer menace that is currently among one of the leading causes of death globally. Global health organizations in collaboration with various governments are channelling funds to treatment programs such as chemotherapy and radiation, as well as the purchase of drugs to facilitate cancer treatment (Yarbro, Wujcik, & Gobel, 2011). The programs in place have not helped to address the challenges faced by cancer patients in totality.

Research Questions

What are some of the ways healthcare systems provide emotional support to cancer patients? Are these methods successful in addressing the emotional challenges encountered by cancer patients? Should the focus be more on the provision of emotional support to cancer patients than drugs?


Cancer patients encounter emotional challenges that result in feelings of loneliness and isolation that further jeopardise their quality of life. With emotional support, healthcare systems can address most of these emotional challenges as this approach allows cancer patients to cope with stressors and also contributes to their well-being and improved quality of life (Adler, Page, & Institute of Medicine (U.S.), 2008). Some of the ways of providing emotional support to cancer patients that have received support across healthcare systems include giving assurance, encouraging rather than forcing cancer patients to talk, sharing feelings and fears that the cancer patients have, listening to their feelings, and providing counselling and guidance through support groups or counselling experts.

Research Questions

What does ways such as giving assurance or giving guidance and counselling to cancer patients entail? Why are these approaches seen as the best from the perspective of providing emotional support to patients? Is there proof of success when these approaches are used in the provision of emotional support to cancer patients in various healthcare facilities? How do these approaches work in the United States?

  1. Where/how I might find answers to the questions

I am considering using Ebsco Host database for a web search of key terms such as cancer, cancer patients, emotional support, and cancer treatment. I am also considering searching for articles on Google Scholar most of which will be related and useful to my topic on whether cancer patients need more emotional support than drugs. I also believe that important websites such as could provide me with the necessary information regarding the topic. I hope to engage the librarian at COCC library asking about various sources of information about cancer treatment and whether drugs, emotional support, or both, are better ways of addressing the myriads of challenges faced by cancer patients. I intend to acquire crucial information about cancer treatment approaches in books most of which I will request through interlibrary loan. Moreover, plans are underway for interviews with healthcare professionals handling cancer patients. These interviews will provide me with detailed information on whether more emotional support than drugs should be offered to cancer patients.




Adler, N. E., Page, A., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2008). Cancer Care for the Whole Patient: Meeting Psychosocial Health Needs. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press. Retrieved from

Johnson Memorial Health. (2017, January 17). Cancer Patients Need Emotional Care, Too. Retrieved from

Luszczynska, A., Boehmer, S., Knoll, N., Schulz, U., & Schwarzer, R. (2007). Emotional support for men and women with cancer: Do patients receive what their partners provide?. International Journal of Behavioral Medicine14(3), 156. Retrieved from

Namkoong, K., McLaughlin, B., Yoo, W., Hull, S. J., Shah, D. V., Kim, S. C., … & Gustafson, D. H. (2013). The effects of expression: how providing emotional support online improves cancer patients’ coping strategies. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs2013(47), 169-174. Retrieved from

Yarbro, C. H., Wujcik, D., &Gobel, B. H. (2011). Cancer nursing: Principles and practice. Sudbury, Mass: Jones and Bartlett Publishers. Retrieved from