Getting a cancer diagnosis is life-changing. Upon receiving the news, you can feel bouts of emotions, leading to anxiety and depression, which should not be the case. 

Questions can go through your head constantly after diagnosis. You might be at a loss after getting diagnosed with cancer. You might be unsure how to move forward in life after this. 

Do you need to seek therapy to help overcome the anxiety that came after the diagnosis? How can you still have a better outlook after getting a cancer prognosis? 

This article answers these questions and gives information and support to people who experience mental health issues after a cancer diagnosis.

It also offers advice on managing your mental health from being negatively affected due to the life-changing news. Furthermore, this write-up gives cancer information to help reduce misconceptions that lead to further anxiety attacks and depression. 

A cancer diagnosis is not the best news to receive at any point in life. It can affect not only a person’s physical ability but also their mental health. 

But some people experience anxiety and depression because of the future uncertainty of living with this disease. Misconceptions about cancer can also add to the mental pressure. 

Common types of cancer include breast and prostate cancer. But there are some rare ones, like mesothelioma, caused by asbestos exposure. The stages of mesothelioma tumors determine how far cancer spreads from where it first appeared.

Generally, the stages of cancer can determine the severity, chances of recovery, treatments, and management methods, especially for pain and other symptoms linked to the disease.  

Understanding the stages of cancer will help people adapt to the situation and learn what to do to maintain a good quality of life amid the disease. 

Things to Do After Cancer Diagnosis

You went to the doctor and thought it would be just a typical check-up. The doctor ran tests on you, did some bloodwork, checked your X-rays, and did all the diagnostic procedures. 

You went home, hoping to get the needed rest, and then the phone rang. Your world shattered when the person on the other line told you that “you got cancer.” 

The surreal feeling that came afterwards was indescribable. It felt like the whole world seemed to vanish into thin air. 

You see, a cancer diagnosis is never an easy pill to swallow. It’s that type of news that you thought only other people get. You’re so accustomed to seeing others go through those difficult situations that you thought you were somewhat immune to such instances. Yet, here you are, diagnosed with cancer and looking for advice on what to do next. 

Like any human being, bad news never evokes a smile and worsens as the realization finally sinks in. During these short, solitary moments, you should bounce back from the initial shock and stay optimistic. 

There’s a lot of advice that you can get from different therapists online, but these are some of the best ones that you can follow to cope with cancer: 

  • Talking with family or friends 

Being diagnosed with cancer is that time in life that you shouldn’t be alone. Get close to your family and your loved ones and get the support you need in these times. 

  • Managing emotions

Don’t let your emotions rule over you. Remind yourself that you’re alive, and don’t take anything for granted. A cancer diagnosis isn’t the end but a beginning of a chapter in your life. It may not be easy, but when is life easy? Yet, here you are, still fighting, still living life as you want it to be. 

  • Finding social support and information

Be involved in a community going through the same problems as you. You can get helpful insights on how to keep it together. Understandably, getting that kind of news is shocking. But giving up and giving in to anxiety and depression will only worsen your situation. 

Debunking Cancer Misconceptions That Lead to Anxiety and Depression

Many people get anxious and sad after they receive a cancer diagnosis. But, in many cases, anxiety and depression kick in because of preconceived ideas about cancer. You need to discard these misconceptions and not let them cloud your life’s outlook. 

Here are cancer myths you shouldn’t allow to get the best of you:

  • Once you get cancer, it’s always fatal. Though some cancers are aggressive, many are manageable through the advancement of medicine.
  • Undergoing biopsies and surgery makes cancer worse. On the contrary, doctors use biopsies to get more information about your tumor or cancer. Avoiding biopsies may lead to late detection, which is dangerous and potentially fatal. 
  • Cancer is primarily hereditary. Though family history increases your risk of getting cancer, only 5 to 10% of all cancer cases are due to genetics. The majority of cancers are caused by lifestyle and environmental factors.  

An example of an environmental factor is asbestos exposure, which leads to a rare type of cancer called mesothelioma. 

  • Cancer treatments tie you to hospitals. Though you may need to travel to hospitals for treatment, you can still have a relatively active life even amid cancer.

 

  • Pollution poses a greater risk for cancer than smoking. Research shows that 12% of lung cancers are due to pollution. But, the leading cause of lung cancer is smoking. 

Don’t let your emotions get to you when you get a cancer diagnosis. Immediately seek advice from your physician about the prognosis and what you need to do to slow down the cancer spread. 

So, in the end, always look at life positively, cooperate with your physician, and seek help by joining communities. 

References 

  1. Debunk the myths: Oncologic misconceptions https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4001327/ 
  2. How to Cope With the Impact of Cancer on Your Mental Health https://www.cancer.net/blog/2020-02/how-cope-with-impact-cancer-your-mental-health

 

By Casey Bloom

Supporting the Mental Health of People Who Have Been Recently Diagnosed With Cancer