Cancer is now the leading cause of death in many wealthy countries. In addition to the physical impacts of cancer, the disease gravely affects the mental well-being of patients.
A cancer diagnosis in itself is sufficient to have a profound effect on the psychological and physical well-being of the diagnosed and the family as well. The pressure to be at par with the expectations of the family, financial burdens, and constant deteriorating health are some of the reasons why the patients face feelings of angst, anxiety and depression.
According to The National Cancer Institute, one in three cancer patients or survivors have faced psychological distress in some form. Also, cancer survivors are twice as likely to commit suicide that the general population. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is another psychological impact that is faced by many survivors.
Mental health professionals actively work with cancer patients to rule out a path of recovery for them. According to many studies, breast cancer patients had a 45% less risk of their cancer coming back after actively participating in psychologist-led group sessions.
Cancer brings drastic changes into the lives of patients. The childhood dreams that they were once sure of, are now uncertain. Living under the constant fear of experiencing your last breath causes a major setback to the mental health of many patients.
A cancer patient or survivor should always adopt a healthier lifestyle to make the most of their plight. They should be encouraged to engage in mild physical activity for starters, like walking. Engaging the person in activities they enjoy is considered a great way to maintain a stable mental health. Tejasvi Mohan, a student of Lady Shri Ram College commented: “Cancer is a fatal disease, and takes a toll on the mental health of patients as well as their loved ones, and the best way to get through this tough time is by seeking professional help to channelize their grief in a proper manner.”
The family members of the diagnosed person are at a high risk of depression and anxiety. The grieving process involves taking into account the feelings of family members alike. Patients and their loved ones may be going through preparatory grief, which refers to the levels of grief before a loss event occurs. Coping is a lengthy process, but worth it nevertheless.
Feature image credits- Cityclub