What are the emotional effects of cancer?
Last week we talked about the first main way that cancer affects your mental health: the treatment you’re on, as well as your pain levels, can cause your hormones to fluctuate and make you feel more down than usual.
But there’s good news – your hormones will even out again when the treatment stops and your pain decreases. Knowing this can help you to persevere and stay hopeful through the down times.
Today we’re going to cover the second main way that cancer affects your mental health…
2. The emotional effects of cancer and lack of control💡
The emotional effects of cancer are deep and broad. There are two obvious and immediate massive pieces that you are forced to process, without having any time to reflect or ‘get ready’ for:
🔹 The legitimate existential crisis of, “will I die?” and “how long do I have?” and “what about all the things I have yet to do!” and “I’m not ready!”…
🔹 The powerlessness and loss of control over your time and your body.
So the first choice most cancer patients have to make – and the biggest choice – is, “am I going to try to fight this cancer or not?”
Once you decide to fight it, the choices you make and the empowerment you feel become less about what you want and more about what you must do, accept, and endure in order to make it through (or to at least give yourself the best chance to survive for as long as you can).
Of course, the ultimate goal for any patient is to get through cancer as fast as possible with as little pain and discomfort as possible.
That’s why our team at CTOAM focusses on giving you the greatest length of life with the minimum amount of side-effects.
Hope is here…
And there is incredibly hopeful news on this front:
With the latest innovations in cancer diagnosis and treatments, more and more patients are able to avoid chemo and radiation completely!
By engaging in targeted therapy regimes that provide significant life extension and greatly reduced side-effects (compared to chemo and radiation).
As medical science continues to improve, we do see cancer becoming a highly curable illness – and, in a worst case scenario, a chronic but manageable condition.
For many types of cancers, this is already the case.
So there is good reason for you to feel hopeful…
3 ways to improve treatment success
The 3 most important things you must do to make that hope a reality are: a) ensure you get comprehensive genetic testing b) have the results properly analyzed by an expert and c) explore the right therapies for your unique set of mutations.
Then you will have more fact-based hope, more peace-of-mind, and fewer side-effects.
And that, in itself, will help with your mental and emotional health.
Still, you won’t have complete control over many aspects – like, when you have to attend appointments or how the treatments affect you. And you will still have to make peace with the frustration and the imposition of this disease.
Remember what you can control
If you can remind yourself that you are doing your best and that (even though it might feel this way) cancer is not personal but just one of those crappy situations that life sometimes throws our way…
You will be able to focus on the things you can change. Like how you practice self-care, the relationships you invest time in, and how you speak up for yourself.
Time is short for all of us, but nothing brings that into sharper focus than a cancer diagnosis.
Having realistic expectations of how treatments and pain will affect your mood, energy, and clarity of thought; and ensuring you are truly getting the best possible treatment for the genetic mutations driving your cancer is about the very best you can do.
I hope you found this helpful. Let us know if you have any questions or thoughts…
Take good care and reach out anytime.on April 21, 2021
Tags: Advocacy, Caregivers, Knowledge is Power, Mental Health, Self-care
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