Receiving a cancer diagnosis can be life-changing, and the subsequent stress that one experiences don’t make their journey any easier. Fortunately, there are resources out there that can help you minimize this stress and improve your mental health and quality of life along the way. If you’re having trouble processing and working through your cancer diagnosis, here are a few ways to better cope with cancer stress and anxiety.
Seek out mental health resources that support you in your journey.
At the very least, people who are told that they are being faced with a life-threatening disease may face enormous amounts of stress or even chronic stress. However, this can quickly turn into mental illness. For example, those who were previously only stressed may develop anxiety disorders like panic disorder or mood disorders like major depressive disorder. Both of these will not only have an impact on your mental health and your physical health and wellness but can threaten your life if you develop severe symptoms that spur suicidal ideation (reach out for help immediately if you experience this).
If symptoms like irritability and anxiety are impacting you, reach out to a therapy center that can help you cope with these symptoms. With the support of psychotherapists and psychologists that apply proven treatment methods like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), you can learn how to navigate these mental health issues more effectively (and be provided with necessary medications like antidepressants). Another resource that you may want to consider is group therapy. Group therapy can show you that you’re not alone and help you speak with others about difficult topics like chemotherapy, financial struggles, and cancer itself. Remember, you are never alone!
Work with your doctor to understand your diagnosis and create a plan.
The first step to alleviating stress is to work with your doctor to better understand your diagnosis and the cancer treatment options available to you. For example, one of the treatment options at your disposal may be cancer immunotherapy. Immunotherapy is designed to boost the immune system and provide a stronger immune response so that it can produce the antibodies needed to attack cancer cells more aggressively. Some types of immunotherapy you may be able to take advantage of including T-cell transfer therapy, monoclonal antibodies, cancer vaccines, immune system modulators, and immune checkpoint inhibitors. With the support of your doctor, they can monitor any changes in activity in both your immune system and cancer cells (as well as tumor size and growth), watch for side effects (nausea, fatigue, etc.), and work towards improving your diagnosis. When you have a strong plan of action, you may feel more at ease.
Look for financial resources that can give you the support you need.
Cancer is not only detrimental to your physical health but your financial health as well. Figuring out how you’re going to pay for your medical bills can be a major source of stress and anxiety for many cancer patients. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through it on your own. There are plenty of financial resources out there that can give you financial support as you work through treatment and aim to go into remission. No one should have to go into debt or worry about not being able to afford the treatment that they need to live.
Cancer is a serious disease, and it’s only natural to feel stressed out about your diagnosis. however, stressing can only pose more of a risk to your mental and physical health and make it hard to stay positive about the future. If you’ve received a cancer diagnosis and are having difficulty dealing with it, use some of the tips above to find the relief and peace of mind that you deserve.