Addressing the Psychological Impact of a Cancer Diagnosis
A cancer diagnosis will likely have a profound impact on your life. It marks the start of a potentially long journey of treatment, which could take a toll on your physical and mental health, relationships, and self-esteem.
Protecting your body physically during treatment is essential, but you mustn’t overlook your mental well-being along the way. Read the following advice for addressing the psychological impact of cancer diagnosis.
Talk Openly About Your Emotions
It is common for people to bottle up their emotions after a cancer diagnosis, as they may find it upsetting to discuss. However, keeping your feelings inside could make you feel unnecessarily anxious, stressed, or depressed.
Communicating how you feel to your closest loved ones could remove some of the burden on your shoulders while making you feel more supported. Don’t be afraid to express your feelings with people you trust; it could help you identify your emotions and even develop a more optimistic outlook.
Chat with Someone You Don’t Know Well
It might feel hard to talk to a loved one about a cancer diagnosis at times, as they may have many questions, such as “What is lymphoma?” or “What’s the prognosis?” As you might not have the answers to their questions or find it too hard to talk about, you may want to withdraw completely to protect your emotional well-being.
However, talking can help during your cancer journey, but you might need to embrace an additional support system to navigate your emotions and various challenges. For instance, you may find it easier to chat with someone you don’t know well, such as your GP, a specialist nurse, a cancer doctor, or a counsellor. Local support groups could provide a friendly forum to express your feelings with others on a similar journey, and they are more likely to understand your challenges, and you can support each other along the way.
Talking to someone you don’t know well could make it easier to open up about how you’re feeling, as you don’t need to worry about upsetting them. You might be surprised by the difference it makes to your mood, outlook, and emotional well-being.
Care for Your Mind and Body
Your emotional well-being can have a negative impact on your physical health. For example, high-stress levels, depression, or anxiety can result in sleeping difficulties, fatigue, or appetite changes. It is essential to care for your mind as much as possible following a cancer diagnosis to protect your mental and physical health.
For instance, you must make sleep a priority, eat a nutritious diet, and make time for relaxation. Also, you must banish bad habits like smoking and embrace physical activity, such as enjoying a daily walk outdoors.
Most people will experience many emotions during their cancer journey, such as shock, fear, sadness, anger, and loneliness. Rather than suffering in silence, you must express your feelings with a loved one, medical professional, or support group to reduce your stress levels and protect your mental health. Also, find ways to care for your mind and body to avoid psychological and physical issues to remain in the best possible health before, during, and after treatment.
Maggie Hammond. Proud mama to two little people, and has one too many furry friends. Passionate about alternative medicine, education, the great outdoors and animal welfare.