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Cancer Essay

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Bronte’ Ward
Research Paper
English 111, AC1
April 9, 2012
Psychological Effects on Families and Caregivers of Cancer Patients
Have you ever known of someone who has had cancer? Almost every one of us could answer yes to that question without hesitation. According to data from the American Cancer society, approximately one of every three women, and one of every two men will develop some type of cancer in their lifetimes. That is an enormous amount of the population. Now think about how many people these individuals are close to, and how many people they interact with on a daily basis. Cancer does not only affect the patient, but also their families, friends, and acquaintances. Cancer causes emotional strain, uncertainty, and practical and financial problems. When one takes all of this into consideration, they realize what a huge number of people cancer truly affects. It is important that we understand not only what it feels like for those who have cancer, but also what kind of influence it has on their loved ones.

My name is Bronte’ Ward. I am seventeen years old, and a senior in high school. I know what it feels like to have a family that has been affected by cancer. My Great Granddaddy Smothers, Uncle Kalvin, and Aunt Nelva have all passed away from different forms of cancer, and my Uncle Dwayne was recently diagnosed. We have a bad history of cancer in my family. Probably the cases that have affected me the most, though, are that of my Nanny, Faye Ward, and my Granny, Blondell Smothers. My Nanny is my grandmother on my father’s side of the family. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999 at age 59. My Granny Smothers was my great grandmother on my mother’s side of the family. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in August of 2001 and died from it in December of that same year at age 73. I was young at the time, but I can still see what a change it made on my family.

My Nanny has always been the one in my family to take care of everyone else. When someone is having a bad week, she will make them a plate of her delicious “Hello Dolly” bars and immediately brighten their day. If one of us locks our keys out of car, Nanny and Granddad will load up in a second and head over. If we mention that there is a new kind of beef jerky we want to try, it is waiting for us the next time we go over to her house. If we ever go on a trip, I get daily weather updates from Nanny, and she cooks us some fried chicken to eat on the way. That is why it is so hard to believe that just a little over ten years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

At the time she was diagnosed, Nanny was busy taking care of her mother, who still lived on her own but was too old to cook for herself and had to be checked on often. She took turns with her sisters taking care of her, and also her special needs son, my Uncle Steve. He is my dad’s older brother but has always lived with my grandparents because he cannot live on his own. My Nanny’s cancer really affected him because he completely depends on her and my Granddad to take care of him. When I was speaking to Nanny about this she said, “It really bothered Steve. He asked me what would happen to him if something happened to me. I had to explain that the rest of the family would take care of him.” Even though he couldn’t completely comprehend the full importance of her cancer, he understood enough to know that if something were to happen to Nanny his life would completely change. During the time she was especially sick, her sisters had to pull together and take extra care of their mother when Nanny couldn’t, and my Granddad had to run things around the house, help her with her dr...

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