Experiencing cancer in any of its stages can severely impact emotional and mental health. Patients living with cancer and their families commonly feel changes in mental health that can include distress, anxiety and depression. Cancer not only affects the body, but also how people see their future and their close relationships. Thus, survivors emotional health is as important to follow up as their oncological profile.
As cancer itself, many survivors go through emotional stages of cancer, following its development. People coping with a cancer diagnosis and its consequences may experience feelings of worry, fear, grief, sadness, anger, and loneliness. For many, living with cancer and surviving cancer bring guilt. When occurring most of the day in most days, these feelings can significantly affect daily activities. In the end, they can result in anxiety and depression, which contributes to diminished quality of life.
Emotional and mental wellbeing are also related to how people adhere to cancer treatment and how their bodies react to it. It even affects appetite and sleep patterns directly. For this reason, it is useful to include psychological assistance in cancer patients’ treatment and recovery, so to heal the mind in addition to the body. Early detection and adequate treatment of psychological disorders is crucial to reduce their negative consequences. Overall, providing psychological help together with oncological treatment improves quality of life, and ensures more adequate post-cancer support.
Today, the focus on cancer-related anxiety and depression and on mental health follow-up is gaining momentum among researchers. The set of tools available to detect depressive symptoms has even involved Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and smart IT applications.
Our articles below explore how cancer can affect your mood, and when cancer-related distress is a symptom worth further investigation.