The very thought of ever being diagnosed with cancer is enough to send a cold chill down the spine. And for those who have already been diagnosed with this monster of a disease, it means a long journey of struggling both physically as well as emotionally. Treatment for cancer shouldn’t focus only on the physical aspects of the disease, as the patient also has to cope with the emotional aspects, as his body undergoes a sea of changes.
One of the first things the patient should do is to demystify the disease and read up as much as possible to make it seem less frightening. It’s better to go in prepared so that you have a good idea what your chances are and how each stage of treatment will affect your body. Fear of the unknown can make mountains out of molehills, so a little forewarning about the disease goes a long way in preparing you mentally for the battle ahead. Sometimes there is a fine line between success and failure depending on the strength of the mind and not giving up.
Even with so much advancement in the treatment of cancers, the outcome of therapy is always unpredictable and the patient undergoes a myriad of emotions ranging from fear, anxiety to uncertainty, anger and depression. The whole life of the patient changes as cancer and its related medical issues take over the waking hours and steal the light from his daily life. The disease or the effects of its treatment leave the body looking and feeling different, which can become a source of concern to the patient too.
Counseling and psychological support should be an integral part of cancer therapy as it will address the feelings of anxiety and despair that the patient goes through. Some might feel that psychological support is for the weak-minded, but they should remember that when the body is unwell, it affects the brain too and leaves an impact on the whole well-being of the person. Keeping your mind strong and focused on fighting cancer should be the main priority.
Anxiety in cancer patients steals away the normal optimism and leads to feelings of sadness, dread and a sense of vulnerability as well as panic attacks. Depression, sadness or grief afflicts most cancer patients with about 30% of the patients going on to develop clinical depression. Talking openly with family members, friends, psychologists or spiritual leaders can be of great help as the patients worry over the uncertainty of the future.
Feelings of isolation, vulnerability, helplessness and a loss in spiritual faith are all a part of the emotional see-saw that cancer puts one through. A strong emotional support system consisting of loving family and friends as well as health professionals can help you keep a positive outlook as you wade through the battlefield called cancer; the patients thoughts should only be focused on fighting – and winning – in the battle towards recovery.