The focus after a cancer diagnosis is often on improving a patient’s physical health. While remission should be the number-one priority for cancer patients, achieving that physical goal can’t overshadow the need for adequate mental care as well.
A new resource guide from the American Cancer Society and National Institute of Mental Health emphasizes that mental-health awareness can provide help for cancer patients on their road to complete healing. Cancer patients may be at risk for depression for a number of reasons:
- Diagnosis and subsequent treatment has limited the ability to engage in previous routines and activities
- Physical changes impact self-confidence and esteem
- Uncertainty about the future can create fear and anxiety
The guide suggests a number of nontherapeutic and therapeutic exercises that make mental-health help for cancer patients a reality.
- Exercise appropriate to one’s physical capabilities
- A diet tailored to the patient’s needs by a nutritionist
- A strong network of family, friends and others who can provide support and help for cancer patients adjusting to the changes caused by diagnosis
- Anti-depressant medications prescribed by a patient’s doctor
- Collaborative therapy like support groups
- One-on-one therapy with a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy to teach a patient how to manage emotions and responses
Physical health may be at the center of a cancer patient’s vision, but incorporating strategies for improved mental health can make that goal a bit clearer. Learn how we can help lower stress financially.