The Importance of Mental Health Care for Cancer Victims
According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer incidence in the United States, increases at the rate of 442.4 for every 100K men and women every year. Cancer mortality on the other hand, is 158.3 per year, for every 100K men and women afflicted with a cancerous disease, Sadly, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society reported that depression and anxiety also typically affect the mental health of people diagnosed with cancer patients.
Those are typical reactions of people who have been diagnosed with cancer as they feel overwhelmed by the realization that their cancer treatment has taken control of their life. Not to forget to mention that some anticancer medications can also heighten feelings of anxiety and depression. Most cancer patients also find it stressful to communicate with family members and friends. They tend to harbor feelings of guilt, for not being able to help themselves.
Families of cancer patients though, should not ignore the behavioral changes, as most cancer afflicted people do not always feel good after every treatment. It’s important for both the cancer-stricken person and his or her family to recognize the symptoms of depression and anxiety as there are benefits to receiving mental health treatments while living with cancer.
Studies have in fact proven that patients undergoing treatment for a serious illness, whilst suffering from depression are all the more affected by the pain and discomfort of their illness, and by the symptoms of depression as well. That being the case, it’s important for everyone involved to recognize the signs of depression.
Most Common Symptoms of Depression
Take note that not all depressed cancer victims manifest the same symptoms Still, below are the most common signs of depression according to the National Institute of Mental Health” :
- Insufficient energy and constant feeling of fatigue;
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless;
- Over sleeping or lack of sleep
- Constant feelings of anxiety, sadness and hopelessness
- No appetite or overeating
- Losing interest in activities or hobbies enjoyed in the past
- Suicidal thoughts;
- Digestive problems, cramps, headaches, and other pains that do not react to any treatment and;
- Unable to concentrate, remember details, or make decisions.
The Importance of Self-Help in Overcoming Feelings of Anxiety and Depression
While it’s important that a cancer patient discusses his or her feelings of depression and anxiety with the appropriate medical professional, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society suggests certain activities that cancer patients can do to help themselves:
- Stay connected to people and continue doing activities that aren’t related to their cancer condition as a way to realize there are more aspects in life;
- Take part in activities that would get one’s mind off on thoughts about cancer conditions, by engaging in mundane tasks like watching a sitcom, reading magazines, or listening to audiobooks.
- Set goals that are manageable such as taking a walk, making a phone call, cooking dinner, or anything that works well in making one’s self feel good.
- Do some light exercise every day and slowly increase the amount of activity to do for the day and;
- Try to have social interaction once in a while that do not include medical professionals to avoid feelings of isolation.