New Normal After Cancer Treatment

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This orientation provides comfort to patients undergoing cancer treatment, which affects your physical, neurological, and emotional health.

Personal Impact of Cancer

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Knowing that you have cancer can take a toll on your mental health. Cancer treatment impacts your emotions, thoughts, and ability to engage in your favorite activities, just as it affects your physical health.

The medication may alter how your brain functions and elicit a wide range of feelings that may surprise you. After treatment, just as you must look after your body, you also need to look after your emotions.

The following list includes common cancer types in the United States, according to National Cancer Institute, excluding nonmelanoma skin cancers:

  • Bladder Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Colon and Rectal Cancer
  • Endometrial Cancer
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Leukemia
  • Liver Cancer
  • Lung Cancer
  • Melanoma
  • Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • Pancreatic Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer

Treatments like chemotherapy have a significant impact on your body. They change the way you look and fee, affecting your mental health. Consult professional oncologists on ClinicSpots to learn more about the side effects of chemotherapy.

Is Chemotherapy Bringing You Down?

When you begin cancer treatment like chemotherapy, you feel that you cannot wait for the treatment to be over. Sometimes, you may not be sure if you are ready for your life after the cancer treatment.

This feeling is quite common in a lot of people after cancer treatment. But unfortunately, recovering from the treatment is not easy; it takes a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional health, and recovering from it is not just about your body but also your mind.

The biggest fear any cancer survivor has is the recurrence after remission. People can go years without cancer returning, but the fear can stay with you.

Something that can push you into depression is negative body image. After the treatment, your body goes through a lot of changes. Some of these are short-term, and some could be long-term.

These changes include significant hair loss, skin discoloration, weight gain or weight loss, and treatment scars. All these things can lower your self-esteem and push you towards depression.

One patient was grateful to complete cancer treatment. They also started feeling conscious about their looks after chemotherapy. But they didn’t know how to face the things that came after that. Although they had a supportive family, friends, and doctors, they had an odd sense of being alone, anxious, and adrift.

They started fearing that they might never feel normal again. Finally, they visited a therapist and were diagnosed with depression after cancer treatment. Thankfully, they started showing positive results from the treatment and were out of depression after a while.

How Does Your Brain React to Chemotherapy?

Researchers have mentioned that a similar inflammatory reaction to that brought on by stress and anxiety can occur in the body as a side effect of some chemotherapy medicines. As a result of this reaction, the body releases specific proteins known as cytokines that signal the release of hormones linked to depression. Additionally, these cytokines can stop neurogenesis, a critical function in the brain.

According to scientists, chemotherapy might contribute to depression in a few ways. One example is that Haloperidol, a medication frequently recommended to cancer patients to ease nausea brought on by chemotherapy, may result in a dopamine imbalance in the brain, which can lead to depression, according to the authors of a review published in Oncology Letters.

How does post-cancer treatment depression affect your daily life?

After cancer treatments, you may start worrying about how you look. You might eel insecure about your body, and not be as confident in your own body as you used to. As cancer affects you physically, it can also affect you mentally, and the way you look at yourself.

Depression after cancer treatment can permeate every aspect of your life. This includes the way you eat, sleep or work. It also diminishes your concentration and hence your productivity.

Your perception of life, your behavior with friends and family, are all affected. Depression can make you withdraw from society. You feel constantly tired; you can’t concentrate on school or work and may start sleeping too much or too little. Basic things like brushing your teeth and taking a shower might be exhausting.

Many of us ignore the signs of depression, thinking it is just sadness and will go away on its own. However, it is essential to treat depression because it can continue to affect your personal and professional life.

Psychotherapy Really Helps!

Finding an excellent psychiatrist who can help you is significant. Develop the skills necessary to deal with negative emotions by consulting a specialist. Sessions of family or group therapy are also quite effective in treating depression.

Talk about how the cancer treatment has affected you mentally, physically, and emotionally. Share with the therapist any negative perceptions of your body image. A psychiatrist gives you an option to vent and express your feelings.

How to Cope With the Impact of Cancer on Your Mental Health?

The following are some of the ways you can try to deal with the mental impact cancer treatments have caused you after cancer treatment:

Express your feelings

Being open about your feelings and dealing with your emotions may make you feel less worried. This helps you manage your feelings and express your anger or frustration. But, again, you can talk to your therapist about this.

Be as active as possible.

Getting out of the house and doing something can take your mind off negative thoughts.

Maintain your hobbies.

Dedicate your time to doing the things you love. It could help you keep the negative thoughts away and bring positivity.

Dealing with your body changes.

Cancer treatment changes your body. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to look at these changes positively.

Share with your therapist how you feel about these changes and how they impact your mental health.

You must know that you are worth it, no matter how you look.

Try to keep an optimistic view.

Sometimes this is attempting to find the positive in a difficult situation or being hopeful rather than assuming the worst. Focus your attention on wellness and the things you can do right away to maintain your health.

Don’t blame your cancer on yourself. Some people think that anything they did or didn’t do caused them to develop cancer. Usually, this is not the case, so try not to let your feelings linger.

Remember that anyone can develop cancer. It's not necessary to always be positive. Many claim they want the freedom to give way to their emotions occasionally.

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