It is estimated that 1,688,780 people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2017, and 600,920 of them won’t survive the fight for their lives. While meeting their fate is certainly the worst outcome of cancer one can imagine, many other people have a whole new battle on their hands. They do survive the fight. They keep on living, and as long as they’re alive that means they’ll feel pain.
The Side Effects of Cancer
Cancer causes a lot more than physical pain and financial distress. It brings with it more than just nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and lethargy. It turns the patient’s life upside down — as well as everyone connected to them. The pain and turmoil that a cancer patient goes through has a ripple effect that extends beyond them to everyone who cares about and loves them. Not only has the patient had to come to grips with the reality that this illness might spell the end of their life, but their loved ones must come to the same realization.
Getting through cancer starts with overcoming the reality that it has happened — to you, or to someone you love. That’s the first step. Many people resist it. Some who are personally diagnosed try to resist accepting the diagnosis so much that they refuse treatment initially thinking if they don’t admit to themselves that it’s true, it somehow won’t be.
The next step is getting through treatment, which can include a multitude of drugs, chemotherapy, surgical procedures, radiation, and more. Dietary protocols are often put into place during cancer treatment that mean foregoing one’s favorite foods for the betterment of their health. It might sound silly when you’re fighting for your life, but even these minor changes can upset a person’s mood.
Chemotherapy and radiation usually cause individuals to lose the coloring in their skin. They become pale. They often lose their hair even right down to their eyebrows. These adjustments are understandably hard to make. Women who are diagnosed with breast cancer may have to undergo mastectomies that take their breasts from them. Men with testicular cancer may have to forego their testicles. These interventions can lead to hormonal imbalances and serious emotional upset about the loss of part of their sexuality.
People who have difficulty with accepting the cancer diagnosis are often referred to psychologists. Talk therapy can be especially helpful at this stage in the game. Therapists can help patients come to a gentler realization of what they need to do to take care of their physical health while maintaining emotional stability and sanity.
Getting through cancer is a bit more difficult. It may require the assistance of a psychiatrist, because they can prescribe medications such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines to treat depression and anxiety that often spring into action during the cancer battle. There are also a multitude of support groups that your oncologist can point you and your family toward where you can meet other individuals and their families who are going through the same situation. When more than a million people are going through the same fight, there is no reason to feel you are alone.