The benefits of psychological help for cancer patients can be explained according to the stage of the disease or according to the specific problems affecting each person. In this list there are only a few but, in reality, there can be many more:
Coping with the diagnosis
Coping with a cancer diagnosis is difficult. Knowing that you have this disease opens the door to major changes in self-image, future prospects, daily routines, etc. Many people ask themselves “Why me?” and are afraid of the treatment and that it will not work. They also worry about how their family will experience it. The most common reactions are fear, sadness, anger, and uncertainty. At the time of diagnosis, it is possible to spend a few hours in shock: the person is so engrossed in the news that they stop paying attention to what they are being told. That is why it is important to go to the visits accompanied: the companion will be able to take notes and ask important questions to the oncologist.
At this time, psychological support focuses on helping the patient to express him/herself and normalize emotional reactions. Normalizing these reactions means explaining that it is normal to experience them, and that they are part of the process of adaptation to the diagnosis. In this phase we also facilitate the understanding of the information and try to dispel false myths that could create unfounded fears.
Living with treatment
Cancer treatment can be lengthy and combine various modalities (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy, etc.). This treatment sometimes causes side effects. The most common are fatigue, vomiting, hair loss and increased risk of infections. However, not all people experience side effects, nor do they experience them with the same intensity. They depend in part on the type of treatment being followed. Moreover, they are being controlled more and more effectively.
From psycho-oncology, we explain why each of these effects occurs.
We provide tools that help to reduce their impact (relaxation, visualization, etc.) and we facilitate the follow-up of the treatment.
Friends are an important source of social support. But there are cancer patients who want to keep the disease a secret, so that they do not have to bear the suffering of others.
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