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
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.
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
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If I had the power to remove only one thing in the world, it would be cancer. It can affect an individual and a family. Not only does it take a loved one away but it also causes a lot of financial, emotional, and psychological struggles to the people and parties involved.
However, no matter how much we want to eradicate this terminal illness, it’s just really inevitable that someone gets the illness each day. At least 4,700 people receive cancer diagnoses each day according to the American Cancer Society. This news is very saddening because, given the facts and figures, it seems like we are still far from eliminating the illness.
But not to worry because despite it being possible to happen to anyone, there are many ways to reduce the risks of getting the said disease.
Introducing Anal Cancer
Generally, most people know that cancer is a deadly disease. However, what many people don’t know is that there are many types and kinds of cancer. The term “cancer” is just somewhat an umbrella term given to a group of related diseases since it can affect cells of varying organs.
One of the least known types of cancer is anal cancer. Anal cancer is basically when existing cancer cells transform into benign or malignant tumors situated in the anus. It can be very dangerous because the anus is a regularly used body part needed to excrete body wastes such as stool from the body.
The sad thing about anal cancer is that no one talks about it. There is a stigma that goes with the illness since it is commonly sexually transmitted, but that’s not always the case. Thus, it’s essential to make the disease known to break the stigma.
Causes & Symptoms
Many anal cancer patients learned about their disease at a very critical stage already. In some cases, even if the person is healthy and generally well, they may still acquire the said disease. Given this, it’s essential to be on the lookout for possible symptoms to lessen the risks of getting the disease.
Anal cancer is known to be caused by HPV or human papillomavirus which is passed on through sexual intercourse. However, besides sexual intercourse, this can also be caused by unsafe anal sex, old age, smoking, and other abnormal openings in the anal area.
For the common symptoms, these may include:
- Bleeding of anus
- Constant itchiness or irritation in the anus
- A lump in the anus or rectal opening
- Vast changes in bowel movement
- Unusual discharge (besides blood) from the anus
- Painful feeling in the anal area
Once you feel any of the said or related symptoms, make sure to consult with a doctor immediately to have it checked and lessen the risks of it progressing.
In treating anal cancer, we have to consider many factors. The doctors still have to assess where the lump is situated in, the type and stage of the disease, as well as the tumor size and impact. In looking into these factors, the medical team assigned to you can point out which treatment is the best and most effective for your condition.
Possible treatments include:
- Radiation therapy
- Use of radiosensitizers
These are viable options for different cases, and it is up to your doctors to decide which one will suit you best.
Prevention Is Key
However, just like any illness, before it comes to the worst case scenario, there are several ways to prevent it and keep you from other possible dangers. Besides being educated, it’s essential to take effort in staying protected and healthy to keep yourself away from acquiring the disease.
With this, here are a few prevention tips to lessen the risks of getting anal cancer:
Since we have discussed that human papillomavirus or HPV can cause anal cancer, scientists have developed a vaccine for it. These vaccines can protect you from HPV infections that can vary depending on the subtype. However, we have to keep in mind that this vaccine works best before acquiring the disease. So if you’re planning to get sexually active any time soon, better to have yourself vaccinated now than to regret anything in the future.
- Protected Sex
One way to have protected sex is through condom use. Although it does not entirely protect you from getting the infection, it can still reduce the risks of doing so.
- Avoid Smoking
Not only sexually active people can get anal cancer. The disease can also affect smokers. To minimize the possibility of contracting anal cancer and other types of cancer, refrain from smoking.
Join Support Groups
Living with anal cancer is not easy, but know that you’re not alone. If it’s too late, you can get extra support and help from families who are going through the same by joining anal cancer foundations. In doing so, you can help yourself, or a loved one who is going through this struggle. Have a little hope that nothing is impossible with the higher beings.
Always remember that protection and prevention can help save a life. Tell us about your cancer concerns today.
Being diagnosed with colon cancer can result in a range of emotions and an array of different reactions. Some initially have a feeling of disbelief. Those in denial may even think that it was just some kind of a joke. There are others who immediately fell into depression, worrying about what’s going to happen.
Despite all those mixed emotions, one thing is for sure, to have colon cancer is painful and stressful, and so are the tests, surgery, chemo, and the fear of recurrence.
Struggle With Treatment
The challenges brought by treatment is incomparable to that moment when you heard you got cancer. This time, you can really say it’s for real and so is the pain and the side effects.
The next morning after my first chemo session, I feel nauseated, and then I vomit non-stop as if I want to take my gut out. For days, I had this queasy feeling that I almost don’t wanna get out of my bed. I’m not in the mood to see anyone. Not to mention the sores that pop up in my mouth days after.
After almost two weeks post chemo, I woke up seeing hair all around my bed and pillow. The sight of those hairs made me cry and feel frustrated. It seemed that I was slowly losing my life and the will to live. Every strand that falls is every bit of hope taken away from me.
I always regard my hair as my crowning glory. And it pains me a lot to know that I’m losing them because of this dreadful disease.
First, cancer take away your health, then your life, your hair, next could be your sanity.
Be Psychologically Well
Cancer does not only ruin the body. It can also destroy your spirit the moment it puts you to shame.
My oncologist recommended that I attend a support group and undergo therapy to maintain my mental wellness. It can help me become more comfortable with the disease and the situation.
Treatment has a higher probability of going well when you know you are still 50% in control. With that is the fact that you can cope with anxiety and depression. The moment you did, life will be happier.
How To Be In Control
Have A New Outlook
Taking on a new perspective on life and your colon cancer will put you in control in some aspects of your new life. Cancer could have entered your body without your permission, but it hasn’t defeated you. You still are very much alive and can do so much.
There are clinical treatment trials you can try. Who knows, it might work on you. It’s better than sulking in your room, doing nothing about your situation.
Not all who have colon cancer have the same experiences. Each has its uniqueness. Yours is different from someone in your support group. Not because one person ends up with poor prognosis means you’ll also be given a poor prognosis. Your body and health status are not on the same level, and so is your reaction to treatments.
Do Talk Therapy
Talk about what you feel when you think you need to. Don’t just keep it in. Talking it out is the best therapy. Call a friend, invite a relative, reach out to a church leader, or whoever you feel comfortable talking with. You’ll never know, the stranger sitting next to you could be the one who’s going to put a smile on your face today.
Change To A Healthier Style Of Living
Decide on a drastic lifestyle change. You need to take care more of your body now. Be aware that you need more rest, nutritious food, active social life and other healthy activities, and of course a “me time.”
Try Other Forms Of Therapy For Mental Wellness
There are various therapies you can try to boost your mental health. Laughter therapy, energy therapy, stress management intervention, CBT, meditation, and more are proven effective in assisting cancer patients in handling their emotional distress.
Cancer Is Giving Us A Second Chance
I thought having colon cancer is the end, but it’s not. In fact, it signaled a new beginning for me. My wakeup call to start living the life I want. It’s another chance to spend more time with my family and friends. I travel as much as I could, laugh with people, do good, and do the job not anymore because of the high pay, but because I love doing it. I never waste any moment. I live each day as if it was my last.
In short, cancer has given me a second chance to live, to enjoy it to the fullest by living in the now. I’m hopeful I’ll still be here tomorrow, but I don’t wait for another day to check one item on my bucket list. I’m lucky to be still given a chance to do the things I should have done long ago before I leave this earth.
Polyps are growths of abnormal tissue that latch onto the linings of the organs. They are mostly associated with cells that make and release mucus and other liquids. Polyps may differ in size and shape. They can look like little flat bumps, small mushroom-like stalks, or like a grape. Colon polyps are the most common type of polyps, but it can develop in various parts of the body like:
What is anal cancer?
Anal cancer is a type of cancer that manifests on a person’s anus. The anus is the body part wherein your wastes are released. It is connected to the rectum. Yes, the anus is also susceptible to cancer, and it can form lumps or tumors. There are tumors though in the area that can be benign or non-cancerous.
You just came home from your doctor’s office and heard the awful news that you have anal cancer. The reality would not sink in at first. You feel confused and full of disbelief. What happened and what has gone wrong? You start to question yourself and the choices you made leading to this day. Although cancer is very common in our society, it’s something we do not wish for ourselves – not even to our worst enemies. So after the diagnosis, what does a patient with anal cancer expect?
Referral to a Specialist
The doctor will refer you to a specialist called an oncologist. An oncologist is a physician who specializes in the treatment and management of cancer. The next thing that you can expect is a series of diagnostic tests to determine the stage of cancer you have. Then the oncologist will offer treatment options that will work for your condition such as chemotherapy or the use of drugs to kill cancer cells, surgery or the removal of tissues or organs believed to be afflicted with cancer cells, and the use of radioactive materials to eradicate the cells and prevent from proliferating neighboring tissues and organs. The medical provider can either use a single course of therapy or a combination of these treatments. The specialist will also explain the expectations, outcomes, and prognosis along with this.
The Treatment Process
Once you’ve already chosen the treatment option that will work for you, the series of tests along with the management and treatment regimen will continue. This is to make sure that it is working and you are responding well. Medical evaluation and succeeding medical follow-ups will also determine if the treatments are not working, or if the cancer has already progressed. Depending on the results, the dosage of the chemotherapy medications can be adjusted or surgical procedures can be repeated until the patient is relieved and can function optimally at the present condition. That is why the support system that surrounds you during this times is very important.
Side effects and adverse complications from treatments are expected. Your doctor will inform you of all this prior to the start of treatment. However, experiencing the real thing can be surreal.
Chemotherapy medications may cause loss of appetite leading to excessive weight loss or also known as body wasting. A severe form of nausea and vomiting can happen after chemotherapy sessions. Most patients also suffer from hair loss. Once this sets in, problems like body image disturbance can lead to low self-esteem and other psychological problems.
Management of Side Effects
There are several strategies to manage and curtail the side effects of the treatment procedures. The following are some helpful tips:
- You can have ice chips during the chemo sessions to prevent nausea. The doctor usually administers medications that will help control the symptom prior and after chemotherapy sessions.
- Don’t eat much prior to a procedure. You can eat toast or crackers early in the morning.
- If you are feeling well, make sure that you eat with gusto. Coordinate with your nutritionist or dietician on what foods are allowed or prohibited while you are in therapy.
- In order to address hair loss, you may use wigs, scarfs, or hats that will improve your self-worth. The good news is these are an all-year fashion thing and will never go out of style.
Get Diagnosed Early And Don’t Lose Hope
There are many instances that the cancer is treated properly especially if it is diagnosed and treated at an early stage. However, it is crucial that relapse must be prevented. Therefore, continual monitoring must still be conducted. Coordinate with your specialist as to how often you need to be checked and tested.
If you have been recently diagnosed with anal cancer or any type of cancer, it would be best to consult your physician and see a specialist right away. It is also recommended that you see a therapist and discuss the expected cost for treatment. BetterHelp (an affordable therapy option) has a good article on how you can assess the management of your condition. Early detection and prompt treatment is the key to early recovery and effective cure.
Colon Cancer, Rectal Cancer and Anal Cancer are types of cancer that are often interchanged. But medical experts are very particular in its definition and these three are not the same at all. Colon Cancer is different from Rectal Cancer and Anal Cancer. To be sure of what these cancers are really all about, this article will define each and briefly provide some facts as well as the importance of support, both personal & professional with online therapy.