Continuing to live a normal life with a cancer diagnosis can be very difficult. Studies have shown that persons who receive an initial diagnosis of cancer experience bouts of depression immediately. “I wasn’t ashamed about having breast cancer. Having depression made me feel that I’d let down my loved ones. Well-meaning friends encouraged me to cheer up, as though my sickness was an option,” said Nancy Alterman, LCSW from her own experience of having depression and cancer at the same time.
At first, a cancer patient will need some time to accept the fact that they have cancer. Once it is certain that you have cancer, it will leave you and your family with feelings of uncertainty and anxiousness. Here’s what online counseling has provided on ways you can do after learning about your diagnosis.
Equip Your Knowledge
It is imperative to learn the diagnosis and treatment options. Your medical provider will be providing all the information that you need to know about your condition. On your own, you can also supplement this by going to many sources like reading medical literature online or in your local library. There is a wide range of treatments for anal cancer that you can talk about with your doctor. Share what you learn with your doctor and discuss together the treatment options that you are both comfortable with.
Get Additional Support
It’s reassuring to keep in mind that you are not alone in this battle. Trying to deal with it by yourself can increase your anxiety levels. Family members and friends are your excellent source of strength and support. Surrounding yourself with a support network will help you experience a better quality of life after anal cancer.
Addressing Anxiety On Side Effects
It is known that chemotherapy and radiation therapy offer multiple side effects and complications. Significant changes to the body brought about by side effects can cause fears related to treatment. Your doctor and members of the care team will answer your questions and will work to prevent and relieve these side effects for you to feel more satisfied with your overall care.
“Most psychologists treat anxiety with cognitive-behavior therapy strategies. The general idea is to target your anxiety-producing thoughts with their rational counterparts,” says Shawn Meghan Burn, Ph.D.
Dealing With Emotions During Treatment
Receiving emotional support is an essential part of healing. Some cancer patients experience different kinds of emotions like depression, anger, anxiety, and distress. They need all the emotional support and assistance to face their present ordeal. The presence of family and friends can help alleviate specific fears and allay anxieties. A referral to a counselor is also beneficial if the patient demonstrates clinical depression. A good state of mental health is necessary while undergoing cancer treatment. Remember that the body is already compromised by the massive proliferation of cancer cells. Thus, having a cynical point of view is not helpful and can only add further damage to healthy cells.
Supporting a Loved One with Cancer
The course of cancer treatment can consume a lot of the patient’s time and energy. Their daily activities are curtailed and attending to personal needs may pose enormous problems. Let the patient know that he is not alone in his journey – you can do something to support his health and healing.
“I’ve noticed there are three particularly challenging times for people with cancer: between diagnosis and the start of treatment, right after treatment ends, and around checkups in the future. The end of treatment can be weirdly anticlimactic and disorienting. Annual checkups can bring up all kinds of weird feelings, even years out,” says Miri Mogilevsky, LISW.
The following are simple ways on how you can help:
- Be a companion. The best comfort that you can provide is your company. Be there all throughout his treatment. Get ready for long hours of hospital visits.
- Lend a hand to assist with daily house chores, running errands and offering childcare.
- Assist patient with eating and grooming especially when he/she is too tired and sick to do self- care.