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Facing a serious illness: Cancer, AIDS…

When we begin to suspect the existence of a serious illness or when such an illness is confirmed, then we feel confused and alienated; we are afraid, anxious and sad; we feel the need to talk to someone; we feel loneliness, rejection, lack of communication, melancholy etc. Illnesses such as cancer or AIDS make us question our moral and mental strength.

According to data from the Wold Health Organization, there is a stable increase in AIDS incidents. Prevention remains the best way to cope with this illness and a timely diagnosis offers a real chance in fighting this illness. In the next 24 years, AIDS will be the third cause of death in the world; today, it is the already the fourth cause of death in the world. We can only protect ourselves from HIV through knowledge and information.

Cancer is an illness that frightens everyone but is also very familiar to all of us. Everyone knows of a person in our immediate family environment, a friend or a colleague who has had cancer. People with cancer really need to communicate with their doctors and to know the progression of their illness. They also need a lot of psychological support. Greek hospitals have stayed behind in this area; this is why, various associations of cancer patients are trying to help in this area.

Cancer patients have many psychological problems which begin with their fear of this illness, their future situation in relation to the illness and their families. Various feelings emerge just as the illness progresses; these feelings are typical of this illness and usually begin with denial and anger. Then depression sets in and finally, patients come to terms with their illness and accept their situation. People who are very sensitive, however, sometimes can not accept the truth. It is not easy to be strong under these circumstances. Truth is easier in those cases when the doctor has established good communication with their patients and their families. Also, mutual trust, hope, companionship, love and understanding are essential for cancer patients.

© Technical University of Crete 2012