“But those who Hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”
- Isaiah 40:31


HOPE for the Caregiver by Dr. Rhonda Johnson, PhD

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has funded a new division for survivors of cancer.  The goal of this division is to encourage research that helps us understand and help cancer survivors.  Included in that referendum is a call for research that helps caregivers (who can also be considered cancer survivors).  Many of you who serve as caregivers for someone with gynecologic cancer have asked me about the research that explores the experience of caregivers. There isn’t much out there. Surely, it is an area in which we need a more complete understanding.

I’d like to initiate a study that investigates the experience of caregivers. Before I begin to guess what research might be appropriate, I'd like some feedback from some of you.  How do we begin to study the experience of providing care and support to a loved one with gynecologic cancer? What questions does this research need to answer? What areas of care giving should be explored? How is caring for a woman with gynecologic cancer different that you think might be with someone with a different kind of illness? What questions should we be asking caregivers?  What would support look like - what would be helpful to you?  How might that intervention be funded?  Would you be willing to take part in a research study? 

The idea behind the research is that we (as health professionals) might better care for our patients if we understand their experience.  Of course, patients don't deal with cancer alone; an entire family system is affected. Understanding how the others in that system are changed by cancer may help us provide better care for our patients.  If you have ideas, please let me know.  I can be reached via e-mail at Rhonda-Johnson@ouhsc.edu or via regular mail at P.O. Box 26901, WP 2410, OKC, OK  73019.  I do appreciate your response. 

See Article Number 030103 under "The Emotional Side" It is a very interesting article by Rhonda Johnson PhD to help caregivers know how to care for themselves.