Cancer is a devastating diagnosis. We regularly work with unbelievably brave clients who have developed mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious medical conditions after being exposed to asbestos. We have witnessed firsthand the grief, anxiety and depression that can occur to patients and family members after a diagnosis. While their determination and resiliency are inspiring, everyone has setbacks and must find ways to cope with a new normal.
While there are treatment options that can ease pain, improve quality of life and increase lifespan, it is important to remember that not all cancer symptoms are physical. There is a significant emotional and mental toll that should be given proper attention, as well. Fortunately, there are ways to help deal with the mental symptoms of cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, as many as one-quarter of all cancer patients suffer from depression. While everyone will experience sadness and grief upon hearing a cancer diagnosis, clinical depression can be acute and lead to lower overall well-being. In addition, many loved ones may experience depression.
Fortunately, the stigma surrounding depression has lessened in recent years. It is important to remember that is it perfectly normal and healthy to talk about depression and get help from a variety of sources. Help could include therapy, medication or a support group, as examples.
Similar to depression, it is no surprise that people fighting cancer can become anxious. However, this can develop into a serious and debilitating mental health condition. For example, many people experience acute anxiety while waiting for lab and scan results. Remember that you do not have to fight this battle alone. Therapy and medications are also an option for anxiety.
Cancer affects whole families, and many people must manage their grief as they move forward with day-to-day tasks. There are many support groups available to cancer patients and their families. And remember that grief happens differently for everyone and at different times. There is no one right way to grieve, and everyone processes grief differently.
You can find more information about coping with mesothelioma on our website