Cancer patients are more likely to feel anxious and depressed than healthy people.
It becomes insanely tricky to stay positive when you have to go through a treatment that has its own side effects.
On top of that, the biggest fear of cancer patients is whether their treatment would work or not.
All of this makes a cancer patient experience sadness, grief and fear all the time. People who have cancer don’t have to go through physical pain only.
They are constantly under mental turmoil that they feel unable to escape.
The diagnosis of the disease is enough to plant the seed of anxiety in a person. With time, the seed grows like a cancerous cell, making the patient fall into depression.
Some cancers, like pancreatic and lung cancer, can release chemicals that can cause depression.
For such patients, the battle becomes harder as their mental and physical condition worsens. There are specific cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, that are also associated with depression.
Chemotherapy and radiation have their own side effects on your body. Some of them are visible, while some are internal. It becomes hard for a person fighting cancer to battle the stress that comes with it.
It is said that antidepressants can end up worsening your existing cancer symptoms, instead of helping you. In such cases, it becomes necessary to stop depending on these medications and take matters in your own hands.
Anxiety and depression in cancer patients don’t just affect their mental health but can affect their recovery and treatment as well.
Stress has been shown to promote tumor growth. That is why it becomes paramount that you try to manage your anxiety levels throughout this journey. The best way to cope with this grief is by staying active in your daily life.
Here are some useful tips for all the cancer patients who are going through depression and anxiety.
People with cancer are encouraged to do exercise regularly.
Several studies have suggested that a high level of physical activity can reduce the risk of cancer coming back and increase the chances of longer survival.
The exercise that is recommended to cancer patients is usually not very elaborate as they need to keep up their energy levels too.
You should exercise only when you want to, and the minute you feel exerted, leave it there.
Some patients have had surgeries because of cancer.
For them, exercise and stretches can increase mobility in that part of the body. However, you must be extra careful and stretch only to the point of tightness, and not pain.
2. Try Natural Remedies
Sometimes herbs and plants can prove to be more beneficial than the medicines you are prescribed.
Anxiety and depression, after a time, can cause physical symptoms like insomnia, headaches, etc.
Medical marijuana is known to combat such symptoms and anxiety.
Some strains of marijuana are taken explicitly by patients who have trouble falling asleep because of stressful thoughts.
Medical cannabis interacts with the body’s endocannabinoids.
Endocannabinoids are responsible for regulating control over most of the nervous system.
The job of medical cannabis is to use your body’s own tools to heal itself. Marijuana also has no side effects when it is taken responsibly in a proper dose.
That is why you should consult with professionals and check if your condition can be treated with medical marijuana. In some states, it’s legal even for recreational use, like in Illinois.
That means, in Chicago, you can obtain medical marijuana card by consulting with a Chicago medical marijuana doctor. That way, patients with the card can have fewer restrictions when purchasing marijuana products.
3. Keep Yourself Busy
The more you think about your illness and treatment, the more you will feel frustrated.
The best course of action is to stay busy with positive activities.
Gardening and painting have been proven to be therapeutic for everyone, especially people suffering from stress-related disorders.
A lot of therapists advise their patients to start gardening because of the positive impact on their psyche.
Gardening also provides a gentle physical activity that keeps cancer patients’ bodies active.
Art therapy is another effective stress reliever.
It is used to promote healing as it addresses your physical, spiritual, and emotional needs. You can view art in museums and books, or you can create it yourself.
4. Eat Healthy Diet
Eating healthy food has a positive impact on our bodies.
These effects are not just physical, but mental as well. You are what you eat! Cancer patients need to be more careful about their diet than normal people.
Cancer cells already make the body’s immune system weak. On top of that, if your diet is unhealthy, it will only harm your body.
Your diet should include foods rich in minerals and calories.
Your vitamins are not going to provide you with the energy that a calorie-rich diet can. Green leafy vegetables are a great source of iron and can help with fatigue.
Increase your fluid intake, so you are always hydrated.
Avoid junk food, fizzy drinks, smoking, and alcohol as they can increase anxiety. You can only hope to fight your anxieties with a healthy body and mind.
5. Talk It Out
It is important that cancer patients talk about their journey when they want to.
There is no pressure, and you should take your time. But at some point, you need to speak to a therapist or your health care provider about all of your concerns.
Explain to them what you are feeling and what your fears are. They will be better able to help you that way.
Support groups also provide a great platform for cancer patients/survivors to share their stories without the fear of being judged. If you are not afraid of talking about it to your family, then you should. Asking your family members and friends for their support can do wonders for you. It will not only help reduce their distress but yours as well.
Don’t hesitate to talk about your feelings to your physician as s/he is best equipped to help you in this journey. Seek support from your family, and find solace in their love.
Keep yourself busy and adopt a healthy lifestyle. These simple changes will help you manage your stress in a better way. Get well soon!