Sergio Medrano
Regional Director
Be The Match Latin America
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Expert Contributor

Mental Health and the Fight Against Cancer, Rare Diseases

By Sergio Medrano | Tue, 05/03/2022 - 11:00

Cancer or a rare disease are conditions that place patients on an uncertain path with challenging moments. It is not only about the acceptance of the disease but also about emotions, family context, and patience. Sometimes it takes longer to get a specific diagnosis and a solution. This waiting period to find out what their destination will be can be tough on patients and their families.

Once their case has been studied and the doctor defines the treatment to be followed, patients and their caregivers must bear in mind that this path may last months or even years. If they are candidates for a transplant, the waiting time for a donor is uncertain because, unfortunately, there are not enough profiles to carry out the procedure for all those who need it.

We know that this waiting commonly has effects on an emotional level, causing adjustment disorders, post-traumatic stress, anxiety, phobias, depression, social isolation, and affectation in the development of social skills in patients.

Cancer directly impacts not only patients but their families, who become their closest and strongest companions throughout this new stage of life. Therefore, providing emotional support to them and their caregivers is of the utmost importance, since mental health is key to being able to fight the disease and cope with treatment.

At Be The Match® Mexico, in addition to looking for genetic compatibility for minors who require a stem cell or bone marrow transplant, we provide mental health support through our Patient Support Center. This is how we help patients and their families to find the best path through this rough patch. Even though mental health is a disease that is being talked about more and more, there is still a need to echo the importance of emotional care during this time.

This support has an important impact on parents, helping them to face this situation with greater security and understanding. Through this, they can clear their doubts regarding the process that their children will experience and express their emotions during each stage of it.

Likewise, we seek alliances with civil associations, such as Wizo, focused on supporting people with cancer, and under the name "Conecta2 por la Vida" we forge alliances in favor of those who need it most, favoring adaptation, adherence, collaboration, and emotional well-being throughout the entire process.

We create valuable connections with health authorities in the country and promote initiatives, such as "Iniciativa Nadie es Menos" formed by civil society organizations that seek to contribute to the guarantee of the right to health, with a human rights focus, for people with a low-prevalence disease.

After five years in Mexico, we are certain that collaborations with key players are the most powerful way we can provide greater opportunities to complete the whole process for each.

The work done in caring for minors with cancer is extremely important. There are always open opportunities for others to join the cause, so I invite you to learn more about Be The Match® Mexico, as well as about our allies because, in the fight against cancer or low prevalence diseases, we all go together.

Photo by:   Sergio Medrano