Being diagnosed with cancer can be one of the most traumatic and challenging things to happen to an individual’s life, challenging them physically, emotionally, and mentally. It can turn their life upside down. When I was diagnosed with late-stage breast cancer at the age of 40 I was left grappling with uncertainty and fear and remember thinking that I desperately needed guidance on how to navigate this new, unexpected chapter of my life.
Luckily, 10 years later, a beacon of hope is emerging in the form of cancer coaching - a personalised and holistic approach that offers transformative effects beyond medical treatment.
Cancer coaching is a relatively new but rapidly growing field that focuses on providing support, guidance and empowerment to individuals affected by cancer. Coaching is uniquely tailored to address the specific needs and concerns of cancer patients, survivors and caregivers. Each individual's experience with cancer is different, and a one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work.
The emotional toll of cancer is profound and can manifest in various ways, including loneliness, depression and stress, so one of the key goals is to teach the art of resilience to help reframe mindset and shift the focus away from the limitations of the illness to the potential for a brighter future. Through guided conversations, we begin to see challenges not as insurmountable obstacles, but as opportunities for growth. This shift in perspective empowers the patient to take an active role in their healing process, making informed decisions about their treatment and lifestyle choices.
This can be invaluable and even life-saving. There were days when the weight of my diagnosis felt unbearable, and I struggled to maintain a positive outlook. I was 40 years old and meant to be in the prime of my life and yet, I’d had to have a double mastectomy, lost the chance to be a natural mum and was no longer able to drink alcohol and party with my friends. I felt alone and some days really questioned my future, but somehow I found my way into a new and different life and now really embrace the benefits.
As a cancer patient, it's easy to feel powerless so taking things into their own hands can help with the overwhelm they often feel and can instil a sense of hope and excitement about the future, helping them to find the motivation to persevere even on the toughest days. This newfound empowerment can extend beyond the cancer journey, positively influencing various aspects of their life.
Just as a sports coach is important for athletes to help them achieve their goals, so too are cancer coaches integral to helping them achieve their new health goals. Changing how you eat and learning how to meditate can seem like insurmountable tasks on your own, but having a coach by your side can really provide the guidance and accountability needed to make those, perhaps, life-saving changes.
The transformative effects of cancer coaching are profound and far-reaching, touching every aspect of a person's experience with cancer. From emotional resilience and empowerment to informed decision-making and holistic well-being, cancer coaching offers a holistic approach that complements medical treatment and enhances the overall quality of life for individuals affected by cancer. Its potential to inspire positive transformations in the lives of countless individuals remains a silver lining on the path to healing and recovery and can help patients find the strength to navigate the challenging path of cancer with grace and determination.