Common Psychological Effects of Cancer

It is quite normal for anyone to see a doctor when he does not feel good, hoping he will find a relief from the problem. However, certain diagnosis can be devastating. “I am sorry, you have cancer” is a heartbreaking sentence that no one wants to hear from their physician during a medical visit. In fact, hearing the words ‘you have cancer’ can demoralize even the most powerful man on earth. Not only the disease is, most of the times, incurable, the side effects of the treatment are very far from pleasant.

If cancer treatment is difficult, it is even more difficult when the patient is depressed following the diagnosis; this weakens the immune system, thus increasing the risk for experience more side effects of the treatment and dying from the disease. In fact, most individuals diagnosed with cancer tend to develop emotional and physiological effects.  Although it is impossible to detail all cancer effects in the life of a cancer patient, this article mentioned common emotional effects of cancer and its treatment, and the way to cope with them:

Fear – Most cancer victims somehow experience some fear of death. Whenever Cancer survivors have pain or feel not good, the first idea that tends to come up to their mind is that the cancer has come back or worsen. In fact, around 80% of the times the pain has nothing to do with the disease. This is a pathologically diseased world where everyone has some malaise from time to time. If those patients look back to their past, they may realize that they used to have those similar experiences years before they were diagnosed with the cancer.

However, that fear is normal and unpreventable; we are a human being. It occurs in the life of everyone who suffers from an incurable disease. The fear becomes a problem when it controls the thinking and behavior completely. This not only affects love ones helping the patient but also the curative effects of the therapy. Patients who are depressed during cancer treatment have less survival chance.

Anger – Anger is a human emotion expressing displeasure. It is, most the times, a normal response to a threat causing no health or social problems. The anger becomes a problem when it gets out of control, causing serious issues at work, in personal relationships, and in the overall quality of life. Usually, when a patient expresses anger he makes it difficult for family and health care providers. The anger can be due to the fact that the patient is unable to overpower the cancer. Wanting to overcome is in human nature. When the victim feels unable to fight against the cancer, it may happen that he becomes angry against the cancer itself, health care providers, friends, spouse and family, as well as against God, even against himself. This behavior worsens when you are misunderstood or underestimated.

When a patient feels anger, the best thing to do is stay calm and explain the feeling with people surrounding him: family, friends, coworkers, and others. He can explain that the reason for the irritation is the situation he is going through. If possible, staying alone for a while to regain control can be useful.

Loneliness is a disagreeable feeling causing a person to have a strong sense of emptiness and solitude. Normally, the majority of cancer victims have plenty of visits at the beginning of the disease. As time goes by, the number of visits decreases or stops completely, presence and simile of friends (and sometimes family members) disappear gradually. It may happen to some cancer patients to not receive visits or phone call even from their lover; cancer has come, she/he is gone. They look around you, there is no one. They call, nobody answers. They feel that nobody loves or understands them. They feel alone; they are lonely.

The best thing to do to feel less lonely is to talk to other people that have or had been affected by cancer. If it does not work or cannot find human’s support, sing and pray to God (prayer therapy) will surely bring relief. In fact, prayer therapy is the best approach a cancer patient can adopt during his fight against cancer. God will always there for us no matter what. In addition, cancer patients can read “Desire of Ages”, a book written by Ellen G White; it will help a lot.

Feeling of guilt – is a feeling of having done something wrong. In other words, guilt is the fact an individual has remorse or feels responsible for something wrong that happens. That usually occurs when the person realizes or believes that he/she did not full responsibility to prevent or avoid the issue from happening. Certain cancer patients tend to feel guilty all the times. Because, according to them, they are responsible for the disease because of their lifestyle and habits. In addition, they may feel guilty for having too upset their families; they think, emotionally and financially, they are a burden for them.

Everyone breaks health principles at one time in their life. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, it is not a good idea to depress yourself; we all need someone to lean on at a moment in life. In fact, this tendency will affect your behavior and word, which will increase problems of your family. Be confident that tomorrow you will be healed and giving back what you are receiving now.

Sadness and Depression – any person affected by cancer tend to feel sad after the diagnosis or during treatment; it is a normal reaction to stressful and overwhelming situations. However, cancer patients need to overcome the sadness and depression; they will do more harm than good. It is said, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).

Cancer patients need to strengthen their morale, look for company of people who can make them laugh. Sing and pray. To fill their time, they can participate in a support group. An important thing they can do is starting a home business (be careful about internet scams), it will help them not only make money, but also have less time to think about the disease. Joining an online discussion board or a chat room; there are many of them on the internet.

Stress and Anxiety – cancer, especially during treatment, is often accompanied by stress and anxiety. These emotional problems are often the result of changes in life, or the effects of media (news about people die from cancer). If left untreated, stress and anxiety can lead to a variety of health problems: rapid heartbeat, dry mouth and difficulty swallowing, sweating, headache, tremor, nausea or diarrhea; problems or trouble sleeping, feeling of oppression or tightness in the throat or chest, muscle pain, rapid breathing and low, and more.

If you are, however, a family or friend of a cancer victim, it is important for you to know that fighting cancer is a very difficult time to go through. Your comprehension and help are precious. If you are a spouse of a cancer victim, and you want to quit, do not accuse her/him falsely; you increase her/his pain. The changes you see are resulted from the cancer; do not use them as alibi to desert him/her. Remember, what happen to your partner today may happen to you tomorrow, and what you have done to him will be done to you. As they say, “what goes around comes around”.

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