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Common Emotional Responses to Cancer Treatment

cancer cancer causes cancer treatment emotional disorders

Although much is written of the physical side effects associated with the treatment of cancer, many people are aware of the full scale of emotional impact cancer treatments can have on a patient. Such treatments can result in a broad spectrum of emotions, from fear to elation and everything in between.

The primary concern of all cancer treatments is to rid the body of a cancerous growth. It's important though to pay close attention to the emotional effects of the illness too. Failure to do so can lead to depression and a number of other mental health conditions. 

Below is a look at some of the more common emotional responses associated with the treatment of cancer:

Many feelings experienced during the treatment of cancer can be likened to those associated with the initial diagnosis. The most obvious of these is fear. It's completely natural to be scared of what is an extremely potent disease, and this doesn't necessarily end once you've gone under the knife. Even if surgery or chemical therapies are successful, many survivors fear that the cancer will return. This fear often manifests itself in a variety of ways, including fearing for the future of loved ones and worrying that friends and colleagues will treat you differently.

There is a lot to take in when it comes to cancer treatments. Understanding the disease and how it will be treated is enough, but you also have to cope with the financial, work, family, and day-to-day aspects of your life. It's not surprising then that cancer patients get confused. Juggling this much information is tough so it's important to try and share the workload wherever you can. It's worth pointing out that it's quite common for patients to be unsure whether to proceed with treatment or tell loved ones. Such uncertainties shouldn't alarm you, but it's vital that you pay close attention to them.

Disillusionment is particularly common with those that find cancer treatments are initially unsuccessful. The treatment of cancer can be a very long journey, so it's only natural to have a few negative thoughts as you go along. This may present itself by feeling disappointed by your family or let down by your doctors. Even those with a strong faith have found themselves questioning their god after being diagnosed with cancer.

For some, the treatment of cancer lends itself to feelings of apathy. Some people feel there is absolutely nothing they can do to impact the success of treatment so they prefer not to think about it. Other feel there is no chance of survival (which is ordinarily not the case in these days of advanced medical treatments) so they adopt the ostrich effect and bury their heads in the sand. Like disillusionment, this is more common in those that face at least one unsuccessful stage of treatment. It may manifest itself as a disinterest in leaving the house, eating, communicating, sex, or a number of other manners. Apathy can be very dangerous to the patient. Prolonged periods of apathy will have a negative impact on a person's mental health which in turn can hinder successful treatment.

Some people find that they feel isolated during cancer treatments. Long treatment periods may take them away from work and seeing their friends, while family ties can be weakened due to the stress and strain. This in turn may generate the feeling of isolation.

Of course, the treatment of cancer doesn't only bring sorrow and misery with it. Plenty of patients are overjoyed after successful cancer treatments and thankful for another chance. Likewise, many are also relieved and optimistic for the future.

The above list features just a sample of the emotions that you may feel during and after cancer treatments. It's unlikely that you will experience all of these, although it is possible, especially if your treatment of cancer is prolonged across a number of months or years. Similarly, there is no guarantee that you'll experience any of those listed above. 

It's important to remember that there are many other feelings that may impact you during this time. It's best then to pay close attention to how you feel and always follow-up anything concerning you with your doctor.

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