A lack of emotional support for recovering cancer patients is leaving many suffering in silence as leading charities demand improvements to care.
Psychiatrists in the UAE have said many patients experience disrupted sleep, anger, stress, fear and sometimes even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following a cancer diagnosis.
Research by UK-based Breast Cancer Care has shown that more than a quarter of patients it surveyed (26 per cent) said dealing with chemotherapy or radiotherapy was not as hard as coping with life after being discharged from hospital.
Just one in 10 felt positive and ready to move on when treatment was over and more than half (53 per cent) struggled with anxiety once hospital treatment had ended.
Cancer patient care society Rahma said although the UAE is making great strides in awareness programmes, patients are often forgotten once a diagnosis is made.
“Psychological support is so important for patients, and they shouldn’t feel they have to leave the UAE to access affordable treatment,” said Nora Al Suwaidi, Rahma’s director general.
“Cancer wards are morbid and there can be a lack of compassion towards patients.
“At Rahma, we want to help encourage more community support and volunteerism to help patients through what is a very difficult time.”
Mrs Al Suwaidi is helping develop a new partnership with ProVita International Medical Centre in Abu Dhabi to improve palliative care for patients, and UAE hospices.
Rahma is one of the few non-profit organisations committed to helping cancer patients in the UAE, but is facing challenging financial times ahead and requires government sustainability grants to continue its work.
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