Coping With Cancer
Initially learning that you have cancer is a very painful and threatening experience. You may be bombarded with information about the diagnosis and the available treatments, insurance costs,financial costs, length of treatment, and types of treatments.
When presented with the diagnosis, you may feel depressed,angry, overwhelmed, and afraid that you will not be able to cope with changes in the quality of your life. You might also feel helpless when you think about the outcome and side effects of treatment and therapy, and the impact on your life and that of your family. You may feel a lack of control about the outcome, disbelief and denial; or feel numb and hopeless, frightened and depressed. The stress can lead to an inability to relax, disturb sleep and appetite, and can negatively affect treatment.
All of these reactions are normal when confronted with a diagnosis of cancer. Without appropriate support and treatment, these feelings may become overpowering, and interfere and affect daily functioning and adjustment.
Evidence-based studies have shown that integrative therapy involving the mind and body (yoga, meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, and guided imagery), together with medication and lifestyle changes can improve an individual's ability to cope with cancer. However, when initially diagnosed, it is difficult to understand how the mind and body influence each other.
Through an understanding of the interconnectedness of the mind and body, individuals become aware of the physical, emotional, and psychological aspects that are in their control and can be applied to improve their life. Clinical studies indicate that psychotherapy can help patients cope with feelings of panic, depression, anxiety, and isolation when faced with crises.
Psychotherapists are trained in using different therapies, including mindfulness and relaxation, and can help people feel more in control of an otherwise very stressful and challenging event in their lives.
Individuals can engage in various therapies including yoga, mindfulness, meditation, and/or relaxation procedures. Integrating positive changes in life style, diet, and exercise, as well as supportive therapy can also positively influence and improve the patient's ability to cope. In other words, with therapy, patients can regain control of their lives and improve the quality and dignity of their lives.