Therapy, Lifestyle Tools Can Provide Help for Cancer Patients with Depression

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.

Nontherapeutic tools:

  • 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

Therapeutic tools:

  • 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.

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