Staging is the process of describing the extent or progression of the disease. In solid tumors like anal cancer, staging is important in determining the treatment plan, monitoring the patient’s response to the treatment and to assess its prognosis.
The most commonly known staging system utilized today is the TNM (Tumor/Node/Metastasis) System, established by the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC). It assesses tumors based on the size or extent of primary tumor (T), the absence or presence of lymph nodes involvement (N) and the absence or presence of metastasis or spread of cancer cells to distant parts of the body.
Interpreting The Meanings
As described by The American Cancer Society, each factor is numbered from 0-4 or the letter X representing the severity of the condition. For example, in primary tumor, Tx is used, and this means a primary tumor cannot be assessed; T0 means no evidence of primary tumor; Tis reading would mean that the cancer is only in the mucosa or top layer of cells lining the anus; T1 the tumor is 2cm in dimension; T2 means the tumor is more than 2cm but not more than 5cm; T3 is a tumor that is larger than 5cm; and T4 where the tumor is any size and is growing into nearby organs.
For the lymph nodes involvement, the following are used:
- NX – Regional lymph nodes cannot be assessed
- N0 – No regional lymph nodes metastasis
- N1 – Involvement in perirectal lymph nodes
- N2 – Involvement in unilateral internal iliac and inguinal lymph nodes
- N3 – Metastasis in perirectal and inguinal lymph nodes and bilateral internal iliac and inguinal lymph nodes.
Lastly, for the metastasis, there are only two categories involved:
- M0 – For no distant metastasis
- M1 – With distant metastasis.
After TNM scores have been assigned, it is then grouped into stages. It ranges from stage I to IV, Stage I being the early stage and IV being the advanced stage.
Stages Of Anal Cancer
According to AJCC system effective January 2018, the following are the staging of anal cancer (Source: American Joint Committee on Cancer).
Stage 0 – Tis, N0, M0. The cancer is only in the mucosa, no lymph nodes and metastasis involve.
Stage I – T1, N0, M0. The tumor size is merely 2cm, has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or to distant sites.
Stage IIA – T2, N0, M0. The tumor can range from 2cm, but not more than 5cm has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or to distant sites.
Stage IIB – T3, N0, M0. The tumor is larger than 5cm but has not spread to nearby lymph nodes or to distant sites.
Stage IIIA – T1, N1, M0. The tumor is 2 cm, has spread to lymph nodes near the rectum but no distant sites involve. Another interpretation is T2, N1, M0 which means the tumor is more than 2cm but not more than 5cm in greatest dimension, has spread to lymph nodes near the rectum but no metastasis.
Stage IIIB – T4, N0, M0. At this stage, the tumor is of any size and is growing into nearby organs such as vagina, urethra, prostate gland or bladder, but no lymph nodes or metastasis involve.
Stage IIIC – T3, N1, M0. The tumor is larger than 5cm, has spread to lymph nodes but no metastasis) or T4, N1, M0 wherein the tumor is any size and growing into nearby organs, has spread to lymph nodes but no metastasis.
Stage IV. This is when any T, any N, M1 tumor can be any size may or may not grow into nearby organs or spread to nearby lymph nodes and it has spread to distant organs such as liver or lungs.
Helping Through The Stages
Getting a diagnosis of cancer can be a life-altering situation. There is no degree of putting the icing on the cake when cancer is the main topic. Relationship problems can occur as deterioration of physical and psychological dimension progress. Family members and significant others should be there with the person when this happens. A person diagnosed with cancer needs all the love and support they can need during this ordeal. Whatever stage they are in, continuous physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual support is highly encouraged.
Anal cancer and its treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery may affect the patient in a variety of ways. It can change not only the physical but also functional, social and psychological aspects of a patient’s quality of life as well as their families. They need total support from the time of the diagnosis, course of treatment, and long-term monitoring or follow up after. The following are some effects of cancer that need to be addressed accordingly.
Cancer May Affect Patients’ Nutritional Status. They may experience poor appetite since they are emotionally-stressed about their illness, from the effects of treatment regimen like nausea and vomiting and diarrhea, and the extent of their disease that may affect the metabolism of essential nutrients needed by our body. Dieticians or nurses providing direct care can provide nutritional education and counseling to the patient and family. The family should be involved as part of the team as they can afford psychosocial support towards patients’ dietary practices. Medications like appetite stimulants and vitamins as prescribed can help.
“While the emotional, practical, social, and spiritual impact of cancer is often in the form of distress, many people are positively affected by cancer. As patients and/or family members experience this positive influence on their lives, it is often something they talk with our therapists about to make sense of for themselves.” says Cheyenne Corbett, PhD, LMFT
Impaired Skin Integrity Problems. Skin integrity of anal cancer patients especially with a wound or after surgery like abdominoperineal resections with permanent colostomy needs to appropriate care. Stoma care nurses can provide education about colostomy care and help patients adapt to having a colostomy. Patients receiving radiation can experience skin changes during or after treatment. Training regarding skin care by keeping the affected clean and well hydrated and protection for the further injury like avoidance of constrictive clothing and exposure to sunlight should be provided.
Infection. Neutropenia is one of the most common side effects on cancer patients receiving chemotherapy. It is a condition in which there is a marked decreased of circulating neutrophils, our first line of defense against infection. Hand washing is one of the critical intervention to prevent infection. Maintaining personal hygiene, proper oral care, safe food handling and limiting visitors are some precautionary measures also. Oral antibiotics are given as prophylaxis in neutropenic patients, and once infection has been established, antimicrobial treatment should be started immediately.
Sexual Practices. The sexual problem also arises in anal cancer patients. Some lose interest in sex at the time of diagnosis, during treatment and post-treatment. This might be due to the physical or emotional effect of cancer. The patient can seek help from doctors or do counseling on how to cope and improve the sexual relationship.
Psychological Effects. Patient diagnosed with anal cancer also needs psychosocial care as well as their families. A cancer diagnosis can create stressful feelings for the patient and their family. It demands individual and entire family positive outlook and active involvement on how to cope with the illness. Extended support from community, friends or groups like cancer society people that can provide emotional support, is a big help.
“There are so many things that cancer patients need to communicate to their loved ones. These range from sharing the diagnosis, what the treatment will look like, specifics about how the treatment is affecting them, where they need help, where/when they need privacy, financial decisions, end-of-life planning and decision making, etc.” says June C. Foss, LMFT.
Cancer is one of the leading cause of death worldwide. But remember that fighting cancer is not an individual battle. It needs support that involves a multidisciplinary team with the same end in providing a good quality of life for all cancer patients. “Many cancers can be prevented and regress if carbohydrate intake is restricted.” says Jack C Westman M.D.…
As its name suggests, anal cancer manifests in the person’s anus. Sometimes anal cancer doesn’t show any symptoms at all, but the first symptom is usually bleeding. This bleeding is mostly minor, and people assume hemorrhoids cause this.
Eventually, bleeding will give way to other more worrisome warning signs such as anal itching, a nodule or mass at the opening of the anus, pain or a feeling of fullness in the anal area, ribbon-like stool or other changes in bowel movements, abnormal secretions from the anus, and enlarged lymph nodes in the groin areas.
Helping Someone With Cancer
If you know someone who is in this medical state, it is best to provide supportive counseling and help them go through the whole ordeal. You can help the person consider different treatment options ranging from the aggressive to alternative modalities. Modern medicine has birthed different types of medicinal and surgical interventions which aim to reduce the mortalities and morbidities associated with anal cancer. As a support system, your role is only to offer reliable information, but the health decision will remain solely in the patient’s prerogative.
For preventive purposes and relief of symptoms, the following plant products have scientifically proven their positive results in cancer treatments. You can refer this information to someone who is at high risk of developing cancer or those who are already diagnosed as having one. It is important to remember that this will not replace the traditional treatment and should not be considered as the primary intervention. Always advise to consult the oncologist or treating doctor if this method is utilized.
Onions And Garlic
Onions and garlic have intense flavors that can leave an after-taste in your mouth, but you may want to reevaluate when you realize onions and garlic are nature’s weapons against cancer.
These two common household cooking ingredients are laden with manganese, vitamin B6, allicin, sulfuric compounds, vitamin C, copper, and selenium which stimulate the body’s production of glutathione, a potent antioxidant for the liver. This naturally-occurring chemical boosts the body’s detoxification process (Bollinger, 2018).
Onion alone is packed with large quantities of quercetin, another antioxidant which reduces the malignant cells present in the rectum. Hence, including it in your diet may reduce the size and number of cancerous cells.
One study showed an increased daily consumption of onions and garlic led to significantly reduced chances of the development of laryngeal colorectal, and ovarian cancers.
It is best known as a crucial ingredient for curry dishes, but soon, we will all be looking at turmeric both for its culinary and therapeutic benefits.
Curcumin is the active component in the plant and has been shown to prevent several forms of cancer including breast, stomach, liver, lung, and colon through its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Curcumin inhibits the development of cancer by interfering with the communication between malignant cells.
A study showed colorectal patients could take as much as 3.6 grams of pure curcumin without any ill effects. Curcumin isn’t well-absorbed in the bloodstream, but it is well-absorbed in the colon lining which gives it an advantage against cancerous tissues developing in the colon and the anus.
The carrot is more than just a bright orange addition to different dishes. Carrots are rich with essential and beneficial nutrients including vitamins A, C, K, folate, and choline. With this abundance of vitamins and minerals, carrots provide an anti-oxidant, anti-cancer, and immune-enhancing properties.
Specifically, carrots contain carotenoids – healthy antioxidants which neutralize free radicals in the human body. When the body has enough carotenoids, DNA damage is reduced therefore preventing the manifestation of different forms of cancer.
When you have rectal cancer, your bowel movements will be severely affected because of pain in the stomach and the rectal area. To overcome this, bananas – a food source rich in fiber – are highly recommended. The downside of eating bananas is that it can lead to constipation if too much intake is allowed. Straining during defecation can create injury in the anal area, and this should be prevented from happening. Eat bananas sparingly and only if you are not constipated for the time being. Other than this, it is safe to consume at least two bananas per day.
Whether you decide to nick anal cancer in the hospital or supplement your treatment with home remedies, what matters most is for you to be active and take charge of your health!
Bollinger, T. 2018, The Benefits of Onions and Garlic: Nature’s Weapons against Cancer, The Truth About Cancer. Viewed 17 May 2018, <https://thetruthaboutcancer.com/benefits-onions-garlic-natures-weapons-cancer-2/>. …
Many cases of colorectal cancer are prevented if everyone is aware of the importance of regular screening. Early detection increases the rate of survival among individuals diagnosed at an early stage. Correct information about colonoscopy and testing are facts that individuals should know.
It is relevant to know and understand the accurate information regarding one’s medical diagnosis. Chronic medical conditions tend to have a significant impact on oneself and the relationships with family, friends, and work. If you know what you are dealing with, you will be apprised of what to do and find solutions or alternatives if available.
Myth: Colon Cancer Only Happens To Men
Fact: Everyone should be screened because colon cancer can happen to both men and women. Statistics show that colon cancer rank as the third common cause of death among women. Cancer knows no creed or color. It is essential to get tested right away, especially if you have a strong family history of cancer.
“Colorectal cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in both men and women, and the second leading cause of death from a cancer in both sexes combined.” says Greg FitzHarris, MD.
Myth: There Is No Need To Be Tested If Someone Has No Family History Of Colon Cancer.
“Even if a cancer is genetic, it does not necessarily mean that you will express that cancer. The medical field still does not fully understand why certain patients will get a cancer while other family members with similar genetics and environmental exposures will not.” says David Poulad, MD.
Fact: Family history is not the sole determining factor for colon cancer. Most persons that were diagnosed did not have the incidence of colon cancer in the family. Age is an important risk factor. Men and women aged 50 and over should be routinely screened.
Myth: There Is No Need ToBe Tested For Colon Cancer If You Are Not Experiencing Any Symptoms.
Fact: Covert or hidden signs of colon cancer are detected thorough medical screening. Most often, the symptoms are not experienced during the early stages of cancer development. The survival rate is higher and promising if diagnosed and treated early. By the time symptoms arise, cancer may have advanced to a malignant stage.
Myth: Age Is Not A Risk Factor.
Fact: It can develop at any age and risk increases at age 50 and above. Men and women aged 50 and over should be routinely screened. To those who have relatives with colon cancer, routine screening is highly recommended for all members of the family.
Myth: Colonoscopy Is A Difficult Procedure With Great Risk Of Complications
Fact: The actual procedure takes less than an hour. Contrary to some misconceptions, colonoscopy is not a painful procedure. Some patients are sedated to avoid some discomfort; however, it can also be tolerable without sedation. Preparation before the procedure takes more time, i.e., thorough cleansing of the colon that results in several bowel movements. Adequate preparation is needed to get an accurate result.
Colonoscopy has minimal risk of complications which includes developing infection and reaction to medication from sedation. Antibiotics may be given before the procedure to prevent infection, and a clean technique is observed during the whole process.
After the procedure, the patient may feel bloatedness and gas pain.
Myth: Colonoscopy Is The Only Procedure To Detect Colon Cancer.
Fact: There are several screening methods for colorectal cancer.It is a flexible procedure that screens and diagnose more cancers other than colon cancer. Other approved screening options include sigmoidoscopy, the fecal immunochemical test (FIT), double-contrast barium enema and computed tomographic colonography.
Myth: Once Diagnosed With Colon Cancer, It Will Never Be Cured.
Fact: Colon cancer is highly treatable when detected at an early stage with a survival rate at 90% therefore screening is crucial. These days treatments like chemotherapy have improved over time to cure a more advanced stage.
Myth: Lifestyle Modification Is Not Important In Preventing Colon Cancer.
“To keep your risk as low as it can be, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and limit the amount of alcohol you drink.” says Marisa Weiss, MD.
Fact: There are somethings that you can do to lower the risk of colon cancer. A proper diet like eating less red meat and processed food, regular exercise, smoking cessation and moderate alcohol intake.…
One of the saddest things that you will experience in this life is discovering that you have a serious medical condition. It can be challenging and hard to face the reality that no matter how careful you are, you still fell a victim of cancer. Maybe you think that this world is unfair because you have an illness even if you always put your health as a top priority. Aside from this, you may also feel bitterness, especially if you think that you are a nice person.
If there is one crucial thing that you must remember at this point, it is the reality that there are tons of ways on how you can handle cancer. Your life is not ending just because you have been diagnosed with this disease. Sometimes, you have to be stronger than what you are suffering from. In this article, we are going to provide you with some tips on how to handle cancer:
For sure, there are several things in your mind that you need to clear out. Do not feel bad for having tons of questions about your condition. Remember that you have a doctor who can answer everything you need to know. Do not hesitate to ask questions so that you can know more about your condition. Feel free to throw any form of inquiries to ensure that nothing will bother you.
Be With Loved Ones
“There is no substitute for the quality time that you spend with loved ones. Social support helps you get through stressful times. You feel very weak and vulnerable in stressful conditions, healthy friendships help at such times, and lift your spirits.” says Sean Grover L.C.S.W.
Now is a difficult moment in your life, which means that you need to be around the people who make you feel alive. Get in touch with your family and make them feel how much you value them. Stop thinking about the hardships that you are going through and focus on getting assistance and support from your loved ones.
Take A Break
“To be at your best, you need time off—and not only for vacations. Those who know the value of a moment of reflection or meditation and do it daily are both more relaxed and more productive throughout the day.” says Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., LMFT.
Sometimes, you need to be brave and strong enough to go on a vacation on your own. Be out of your comfort zone and take a break to a place that you have always wanted to visit for a long time. Remind yourself that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Travel alone so that you will discover your self. In so doing, you will become more motivated to keep living.
“It’s not unusual for people to search for meaning in their lives, and many find a faith construct or traditional religion holds a value for them. Some consider themselves, “spiritual but not religious”. And, some find depth and significance in areas that have nothing to do with that…” says Debonee Morgan, LMFT.
Another thing that you must never forget is to keep faithful despite the situation. Keep in mind that you can survive this difficult moment, as long as you follow the tips mentioned above. Try to remain positive because it is the only way to handle your biggest issues. Remember that if you allow your illness to bring you down, there is a big possibility that you may no longer recover.
If you think that your condition is making things a lot more difficult for you, feel free to consider talking to a therapist. Be brave in seeking out professional help if you think that it is what you need at the moment. There are various form of therapy treatments that can help you get going, despite having a serious illness.
One of the worst things that can happen in your life is losing a loved one. There is no easy way to handle the fact that a special part of your life is no longer around. Do not feel strange or bad if you are struggling at the moment since you do not know how to move on from your loss. What you are experiencing and feeling at the moment is only typical for someone who is coming face-to-face with grief.
“They need to see that grief includes missing someone after they die and being sad when we can’t see them or talk to them,” Jill A. Johnson-Young, LCSW says. “They also need to understand that it is perfectly normal to talk to them anyway — and that saying their name and talking about them is how we keep them in our world for the rest of our lives.”
In this article, we are going to provide you with the tips that you need to master if you want to feel better after losing your loved one to cancer. Before anything else, it is crucial on your part to be ready for the next journey of your life. Just because one person dies does not mean that you no longer have something to live for. What is essential in this life is that you have peace of mind and belief that everything is going to be fine soon.
Here are the things to remember so that you can move on right away. Make sure to familiarize them:
Feel The Loss
The first step is to stop denying to yourself the loss of a special someone in your life. As already mentioned above, it is okay to let all your feelings out. If you are sad or upset about the death of your loved one, do not be afraid to cry your heart out. No one is supposed to tell you what to feel. Keep in mind that you are the only one who can manage what you are feeling inside.
Be With Family
“Families who feel together heal together.” as Christina G. Hibbert, PsyD put it. “Let them talk, cry, tell their story over and over to you. Say, ‘I’m so sorry,’ and ‘I’m here for you.’” she added.
Now is the best time in your life to be surrounded by your family members. Make sure that you spend most of your time with them because they are the ones who can help you move on or survive this challenging moment. You must stop thinking that they cannot help you in any way. Remind yourself that they are the only ones who will save you from misery. Do not hesitate to open up to your family about what you feel so that they can know how to support you.
Another effective way of handling grief or loss is to start looking for a therapist. Do not think that you are alone in this situation. Instead, remind yourself that you are a fantastic individual who can survive what you are going through. All you need is to get in touch with a therapist who can make the process easier on your part. Just because you have a therapist does not mean that you are insane. Instead, treat it as an opportunity to improve your life and bounce back from heartbreak.
“Taking some time away from the situation will help change their mindset and assure them that life continues, even after a sad event.” Jeff Nalin, PsyD says.
Cancer can take the people you love, and it can hurt a lot. However, you need to be stronger for yourself. Stop thinking of what was lost. Instead, focus on the bright future ahead of you. Remember that you can still recover from this unfortunate experience. You need to make better choices.
In all honesty, the diagnosis of anal cancer includes an unwarranted stigma on it. That is because when someone gets diagnosed with the condition, there is an instant buildup of shame. There is a constant questioning of “whys.” With that, a therapist would understand that the emotional struggle sometimes takes a big part of the whole recovery process. And that is due to patients’ mentality. There is an embarrassment because the condition appears located at the awkward part of the body.
“Our genitals… these are things we’ve been conditioned that it’s not appropriate to talk about in public, and anal cancer combines all of it — anus, sex, penetration — it’s all there.” says Debbie Saslow, PhD,
A lot of individuals do not realize that cancer does not control its existence. Meaning, you get to have it from any parts of the body, regardless if it is internal or external. Small and huge, mild or severe, still it won’t matter. Someone can get cancer just anywhere, including the anal. In some unfortunate cases, even if a lot of people understand what the condition is, they sometimes do not want to seek out help. These persons are too embarrassed to let others know that they have anal cancer. With that, the idea of stepping through the awkwardness of the whole situation becomes less confronting. Therefore, treatments get disregarded as well.
Due to societal pressure and different perception towards the particular body part, individuals with anal cancer feel less confident about themselves. They try to ignore signs and symptoms without thinking about the possible growth and severity of the condition. So when things appear complicated and when they already decided to seek out help finally, it becomes too late. That is because these people tend to ignore what their body is telling them only because they consider their emotional state more. But no one can blame them. The judgments and criticisms they are afraid to get is the primary source of the damage to their mental health.
Anal Cancer And Mental Health
People with anal cancer become over thinkers. That explains why almost all of them obtain a diagnosis of severe anxiety and clinical depression. The reason for that is the small percentage of individuals who are more concern about what could happen negatively. These individuals continuously think about stuff like undergoing surgery, financial battle along with the condition, hassle with therapy and treatments, and fear of dying. These negative thoughts become the center of their lives. There is a constant worry for everything that sometimes the whole scenario turns unrealistic anymore.
In some cases, people with anal cancer tend to become more irritable, angry, and unpredictable. Sometimes they feel okay but then can feel a little off in an instant. These people do not concentrate on what is in front of them and often try to waste time thinking about more significant problems. Nevertheless, these individuals’ worries become untypical that it begins to consume their lives.
Worry and stress are indeed natural. That is especially for those people who are experiencing a particular unfortunate event of their lives. So others can’t blame them for feeling and thinking that way. Becoming ill for the short or long period takes a toll on the physical, emotional, and mental aspect of every individual with anal cancer. One cannot fully understand what these people are going through. So with the entire stigma that covers the whole case of having anal cancer, everything emotional and psychological becomes a never-ending battle.
Help, Not Criticize
“Your support, no matter how you give it, is appreciated. Whether you write cards or offer prayers or give someone a hug or a meal or anything else.” says Julie K Silver, M.D.
It is understandable that even if we try to encourage these patients to undergo treatment and seek out help, they will genuinely ignore the advice. Some of them may not pay attention, and others can show no concern at all. But as concerned individuals, we have to become part of their journey. Instead of telling them how they should do things on their won, we have to walk them through their recovery. And the best way we can do that is by helping, not judging. We need to cut the stigma that keeps them away from asking professional help. We have to help them put an end to their unwanted feelings.
It is hard for patients with anal cancer to stay positive. That is especially when the social environment is not cooperating with their recovery. So instead of us becoming one of those negative people, we can try to become the accommodating ones. Who knows? Perhaps things will become a little different with these individuals when we show them that we can make a difference by just showing that we care.
“Some patients with late-stage cancer struggle to recognize that they are dying, but the family is desperate to have meaningful conversations about the dying process and fulfilling their loved one’s final wishes.” Jana Bolduan Lomax, PsyD says in an interview.…
“Patients get caught up in the physical aspects of their illness,” says Sandra B. Haber, Ph.D. “That’s understandable. But in dwelling on the medical possibilities and diagnostic procedures, patients tend to minimize the role of their feelings and the role that psychology can play.”
As you age, your body starts to weaken, resulting in higher chances of contracting injuries and diseases such as cancer. In fact, Tania Estapé, Ph.D. reported that 60% of cancer patients are 65 years or older because their bodies are more likely to accumulate damaged cells caused by UV radiation or cigarette smoking during their younger years. These people might need the help of psychologists.
When this occurs, the cells continue to multiply and divide abnormally without dying, posing grave health threats to those concerned. For instance, the cancer of the colon and rectum or more commonly known as colorectal cancer according to studies is said to be the second leading cause of deaths for both men and women diagnosed with the disease in the United States.
Patients with this kind of cancer may experience effects physically, emotionally, and financially similar to those with other types of cancers. However, it is usually the emotional needs of these patients that are given the least priority despite them recurring even after the treatment completed. Hence, visiting a psychologist before, during, or after your diagnosis and treatment may help in improving your quality of life.
Psychology In Cancer Treatment
“Being diagnosed with cancer causes distress and changes life in the time it takes to hear ‘You have cancer!’ and often results in severe and, sometimes, permanent changes to important components of well-being and quality of life such as professional productivity, financial stability, familial and social relationships, life predictability and consistency, and hope and plans for the future.” states William Goeren, LCSW.
People often disregard the role of Psychology in treating cancer, but studies and reports have shown that psychological interventions have undoubtedly influenced both the patients and their families. Psychologists give them emotional support and help in alleviating distress, which eventually enhances communication among the patients, their families, and their doctors.
Benefits Of Visiting A Psychologist
● Improves Your Health And Well-Being
The theory behind this claim started when David Spiegel, M.D. released his findings on the effect of weekly group therapy sessions to those diagnosed with cancer. He discovered that the participants had survived an average of 18 months longer than those who did not after about a decade. It was later supported by a Canadian study that focused on the effects of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) on women with breast cancer. Similar to the previous study, the participants displayed fewer psychological disorders and a better overall quality of life.
Furthermore, increased stress might worsen cancer as it may act as a trigger to further promote the spread, growth, and increase of tumors in the body. Thus, having an effective support system could lead to reduced episodes of panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.
In addition to this, psychological interventions can also help in improving a patient’s self-management and control. They become more comfortable with themselves. Patients develop healthier coping skills, which further enhance the health and the emotional and mental well-being of cancer patients.
● Helps alleviate pain during treatments
As previously mentioned, psychologists can help patients in developing better and more effective coping mechanisms, especially when it comes to their treatments. They can equip them with strategies to manage the side effects that come with their medication.
For instance, the Cancer Research UK suggests using self-hypnosis as one of the possible techniques to help patients control their nausea and other side effects and help them to relax. Another strategy that can be taught by psychologists is by using guided imagery or visualization to alleviate discomfort.
In this approach, psychologists bring you into a state of deep relaxation. This is a place where you can then take a journey through your imagination. There are two classifications for guided imagery, namely the Simonton method and the Palming technique. Patients imagine their bodies battling the cancer cells in the Simonton method. While in the Palming technique, it involves patients visualizing different colors to represent various things and emotions.
They can also help in alleviating the strong emotions that cancer induces such as fear and depression. Further, they can influence the patient in making sensible decisions about their lifestyle and choices. Furthermore, psychologists can effectively convince patients to adhere to their treatment regimens and medications.
● Enhances Your Relationship With Your Family
Contrary to common misconceptions, the family members and relatives of cancer patients also experience distress. It is similar to those diagnosed with cancer. However, their emotional needs often receive neglections.
A 2013 study showed that they have higher unemployment rates and lower self-rated health as a result of being more functionally disabled and stressed out. Furthermore, it is critical to also focus on the emotional well-being of the patient’s family. They may impose their frustration on the patient.
Hence, psychologists play a crucial role to prevent this from happening. They can assist family members in managing their stress and overcoming their fear and feelings of isolation through hypnosis and relaxation. Psychologists also encourage their active participation during the patient’s treatment and care.
“Depression is the most commonly studied psychological variable with respect to cancer mortality.” says Floortje Mols, PhD.
Adequate care and a stable support system from both family members and doctors are vital. These will promote the overall welfare of a cancer patient. Hence, seeking help and counsel from experts aside from your usual oncologists do not hurt to give it a try.…
After one has decided to give up his fight against colon cancer, his final days will be different from other colon cancer patients. It is different for each colon cancer patient. For the 40-year-old active woman with three kids, it might be slow and steady, but for the senior who is suffering from diabetes and joint pains along with cancer, death can come swiftly, like a friend who is willing to spare him or her from the pain. Others might even be able to survive for weeks of meditation or online therapy just to get through their final days.
However, although it may sound devastating, certain symptoms may mean death but are already long awaited by the patient because they know these symptoms will be their comfort. If you have colon cancer and you would like to opt for palliative or hospice care, let your doctor know. He and the rest of the palliative care team are skilled at anticipating and providing maximum relief of symptoms during your last days of life – and yes, palliative care does make a world of difference for the body and mind.
Withdrawal is a symptom that is seen as waxing and waning a few weeks before one’s death. Most colon cancer patients go into an almost comatose stage, and obviously, this is not voluntary. Do not think that your loved one who is suffering has the nerve to ignore you during his last days. He does not have control over this state. Also, this withdrawal is not a result of the medications given to him to make him comfortable. Research and studies have not fully provided the reason for the withdrawal, but an assumption was made that is associated with mental and physical fatigue from battling with cancer.
Pain From Metastasis
“Treatment of the cancer can help the pain in these situations. However, cancer treatments, including surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, also can cause pain.” says Timothy J. Moynihan, M.D.
Pain is among the most dreaded symptoms of end-stage colon cancer. If a loved one is on his last days, he is most likely suffering from widespread metastasis from inside the colon outward to the other vital organs. The pain is inevitable, and the patient is administered with strong painkillers and opioid narcotics.
Loved ones and caregivers of colon cancer patients most often ask how they can tell if someone is suffering from pain while they are sleeping. There are three marked signs that your patient is not comfortable even when he is at rest. Watch out for these signs:
- Breathing quickly
- Smirking and frowning
- Restless and nervous movements of the hands, feet, and legs
Before assuming that your loved one is hurt, make sure that you have checked the environment he is in. The pain might not be coming from simple discomfort due to wet clothes or increased body temperature.
Anxiety And Confusion
“Anxiety in those with cancer will often manifest as a generalised worry or sense of fear. This may be related specifically to treatments and the side effects or functional limitations that may follow.” says Nicholas J Hulbert-Williams, BSc, PhD.
Anxiety, stress, confusion, and hallucinations are among the most difficult symptoms that the patient will be going through. The cancer patient may be seeing creeping insects in his room, angels roaming around, or long lost souls that he doesn’t even know. He might have sudden bouts of anger or upset. There are medicines over the counter that can help ease your loved one’s anxiety and depression symptoms. Remember that when he is upset or confused, it’s best not to make a dispute and don’t make a big deal out of it. Instead, be gentle and be calm.
During his final days, your loved one may manifest with erratic breathing patterns. He may suddenly stop breathing for a while or breath with an accompanying snore or gurgling noise. This is called the death rattle. Just make him more comfortable by elevating the head of the bed. Do not offer water or any kind of fluid at this point. The sound is so troubling especially for the family members because it signifies the final stages of his death.
“Dying is not just a medical event. It’s also a psychological and social experience,” Brian Carpenter, PhD says. “Palliative care addresses the medical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of a person with serious illness and their care partners.”
Some colon cancer patients experience a rally during the final days of their lives, and they can be confusing to their family. Other family members will feel hopeful, thinking that their loved one is improving, but he is not. It is not known why not everyone goes through this rally, but people who have witnessed it personally say that it lasts for a few days and sometimes for just a short moment before they lose their loved one to colon cancer.…
“Cancer is a diagnosis that often results in physical and emotional trauma.” says Wayne Jonas M.D.
There are many things that you have to consider when it comes to overcoming stress and anxiety brought about by cancer. One of the facts that you must always remember is that it will not be easy for everyone in the family to accept your fate of diagnosed with cancer. It can turn your life upside down, especially if the unfortunate news comes as a surprise. Fortunately, it is now highly possible for you to get your mind off the diagnosis of cancer. One of the treatments that you may think of is New York therapy.
Keep in mind that there are various ways on how you can eliminate stress and anxiety in your life. Remember that the process may not be simple, but with the right attitude and mindset, everything can be within your reach. Make sure to familiarize yourself with these top strategies in getting rid of stress:
Attract Good Vibes
The initial step that you have to take is to make an effort in bringing in more positivity in your life. Remember that it is not the end of your life the moment you discover that there are cancer cells in your system. Instead of allowing the illness to bring you down, the smart move for you is to continue searching for good vibes and energy. As much as possible, avoid doing an activity that can be exhausting on your part. Just continue to live your life as it is but do not forget to seize every single day you get.
“Stressors specific to cancer include adjusting to diagnosis, managing finances, managing relationships, coping with symptoms of disease and side effects of treatment, dealing with uncertainty, and making time for medical appointments.” says Nicole Amoyal Pensak Ph.D.
Talk To A Friend
It can be difficult on your part to open up about your medical condition. For sure, you do not want others to find out about it. However, it is high time for you to understand that keeping everything within yourself can be a lot stressful. All the negative thoughts and emotions will consume you. When this happens, you will continuously feel down to the point that you would feel helpless. As such, do not be afraid to find someone whom you can talk to about your cancer. It is not going to be easy, but you have to do it because it is necessary.
As already mentioned above, one of the treatments that you can try is therapy. All you have to do is to find a professional therapist who can handle your case. Do not have second thoughts in seeking professional help because it can be the one thing that can take you from feeling miserable about life. An excellent therapist can help you take a step back so that you can see the bigger picture of what is happening in your life. Never be afraid to discuss crucial matters with your therapist because he is not allowed to divulge such information to third parties.
Go On Vacation
Sometimes, all you need is to go somewhere far away so that you can clear certain issues in your life. Be spontaneous by going on an unplanned trip all by yourself. Take it as an excellent opportunity to explore the beauty of the world. If you have the budget and means to travel, then be sure to grab that chance. Do not just sit in the corner of your room and wait for a miracle to happen. If you prefer to do it with someone you love, then be sure to prepare yourself for anything that may take place during the vacation. Make every moment count.
Visit A Psychiatrist
If you want to hire the services of a medical doctor who also has a background in psychology, then the best option that is available for you is to look for a psychiatrist. This professional will not only provide you with relevant medical information about your current health. At the same time, he can also help you gain a better and full understanding of your mental health. It can be terrifying to make an effort in finding this information, which is why you have to take your time in getting to know the teacher.
“Nearly every aspect of a person’s life is impacted when they are dealing with cancer. It is incredibly stressful. Not only do they worry for their own physical well-being, but they also are concerned about family, the ability to work, how to manage all the doctor appointments, and what their future holds. The stress compounds and can be overwhelming.” says Dianne Shumay, PhD.
Finding out that you have cancer is bad news. However, never lose hope because things in your life can still improve as long as you put your heart and mind into it.