Dealing with the psychological trauma of cancer

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While treating the physiological symptoms of cancer is important, the emotional health of the patient must also be given attention.

Dealing with the psychological trauma of cancer

The shock of being diagnosed with cancer

Being diagnosed with cancer affects a patient not just physiologically, but also psychologically and has a deep impact on the emotional status of the patient and his family for an extended period of time. And while there are treatments for the physiological symptoms of the patient, dealing with the psychological trauma associated with cancer is another story altogether. Feelings of sorrow, grief, hopelessness; coupled with mood swings, fear of losing life, leaving behind loved ones and anxiety and depression are very common amongst patients fighting against cancer. It is proven scientifically that an emotionally stable person reacts better to the medication and treatment modalities of cancer. This is where a person’s inner strength becomes paramount.


Be positive you can beat this

So the first step towards complete recovery is to overcome every negative feeling around you. Think about your beautiful life, family and friends who matter most to you. Your recovery is equally important to them. Adopt a positive attitude towards life. Make a list of things or hobbies that you want to pursue. Read your favorite book or listen to some soothing music. Try to put all your worries behind you and relax. These relaxation techniques will help you think straight and plan your next course of action.

Speak openly with your doctor about your condition. He is the right person to guide you through this time. Follow his advice and take all the medication and therapies as per his directions.

Spend quality time with your friends, family and children - they will be your real support in this difficult situation. Don’t hesitate to ask for their help whenever you need it.

Talking is therapeutic

Of course, dealing with this just with the help of your friends and family may not be enough. It’s a great idea to get professional help. You could consider individual therapy from a qualified mental health professional with prior experience in psycho oncology. They might even prescribe some medication to help relieve your stress and anxiety. However, you must avoid any kind of self-medication.

Joining a support group has also proven to be very helpful. Talking and discussing your issues with other people who’re in a similar situation as you can be very therapeutic and you might just help you with the answers you’re looking for.

Love your life and accept this difficult phase as a challenge. Adopt a positive attitude and healthy lifestyle and you will surely win this battle against cancer.

Reviewed by Dr Abha Bang, Psychiatrist

Photograph by Glenda Otero via

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  1. Anne John says:

    So true. Cancer is a dreaded disease indeed – and the melodramatic way that it is usually shown in movies only contributes to the fear. As you have rightly stated, it is important to maintain a positive attitude and remain hopeful. Easier said than done but reading inspirational stories like this one, helps a bit