By: Stanley Clark
Life-threatening conditions like cancer can affect more than just a victim’s physical well-being.
For example, a study showed that 32% of cancer patients may experience one or more diagnosed mental health conditions, including anxiety and mood disorders.
Additionally, research suggests that cancer’s mental health consequences may change as the disease progresses.
For instance, a 2020 study indicated that mesothelioma, a potentially aggressive cancer, may have varying psychological effects on an individual during the development of the condition.
Consequently, researchers suggest emphasizing the impact of the disease’s progression considering the differences in mesothelioma stages
Cancer patients may have varying mental and emotional responses to a diagnosis depending on factors such as the cancer type and severity.
However, even though it can be challenging, you can constructively deal with cancer-related mental health issues in various ways.
This article lists and discusses how cancer affects patients’ mental health and how you can address common mental health issues.
How to Address Mental Health Issues After a Cancer Diagnosis
Here are some beneficial ways that can help you address mental health conditions arising from a cancer diagnosis:
● Adopting a participatory attitude: Being proactive and participating in your treatment may help you cope with the feeling of hopelessness.
Studies show that patients who participate in discussions regarding their condition experience less emotional distress than patients who respond passively to their situation.
Cancer patients with a participatory attitude believe they can still be active and effective agents despite their situation. This self-understanding may help individuals develop more positive emotions.
● Reaching out for support: Speaking with others who have gone through similar experiences can be therapeutic.
Cancer patients can find in-person and online support groups through healthcare facilities and the local offices of cancer support organizations.
● Consulting a professional: Cancer patients must consult their doctor for information regarding their physical and mental well-being. These health specialists may be able to assist with specific mental health difficulties or recommend a counselor or other support services.
● Exercising regularly: Exercise can be beneficial in managing mental health, even if the ability to engage in various degrees of physical activity may vary based on one’s treatment plan and diagnosis.
Even brisk walking may help you improve anxiety and depressive symptoms.
● Expressing your emotions: People express and communicate their emotions in different ways. You may evaluate your ability to communicate your feelings about your condition.
Many studies indicate that individuals who communicate their emotions and worries experience a better psychological adjustment than those who tend to repress or conceal their emotions.
How Cancer Affects Mental Health
People with cancer typically have higher rates of anxiety and depression than the overall population. Still, factors such as type and cancer stage may vary these estimates.
Patients seldom receive psychological care or support. This unfortunate situation may have resulted from several causes, such as:
● Stigma, or negative perceptions
● Lack of understanding and recognition of psychiatric symptoms
● Patients’ treatment preferences
● Little information regarding effective therapies
● Lack of available support
Common Mental Health Issues Cancer Patients Face
The American Cancer Society lists anxiety, depression, and distress as cancer patients’ most common feelings during the life-changing experience.
Patients, their families, and healthcare practitioners should watch for mental health problems while undergoing cancer treatment. Many of the emotions one could feel are comparable to those of someone with a mental health issue.
Please remember that this post is solely for informational use. People should speak with their doctor before acting on any information offered.
1. Four-Week Prevalence of Mental Disorders in Patients With Cancer Across Major Tumor Entities https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/JCO.2014.56.0086
2. What are the psychological effects of mesothelioma on patients and their carers? A scoping review https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/pon.5454
3. Coping with Cancer https://med.stanford.edu/survivingcancer/coping-with-cancer/coping-with-cancer.html
4. Depression and anxiety among people living with and beyond cancer: a growing clinical and research priority https://bmccancer.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12885-019-6181-4
5. Emotional, Mental Health, and Mood Changes https://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatments-and-side-effects/physical-side-effects/emotional-mood-changes.html