Psychological stress can develop because of the physical, mental and emotional pressure borne by a person during a traumatic experience.
Cancer is amongst the most malignant medical conditions, which if not diagnosed and treated in time, can cause death. So it’s natural for patients to experience trauma during or after their treatment. Some patients even find it very difficult to go back to their life post-treatment.
Cancer survivors also live with a constant fear of developing the disease and going through the same experience again, as it is a recurring condition.
Cancer treatment affects the mental, emotional, physical, and financial state of the patients, which if you think about is a lot to cope up with on your own. Several patients describe their treatment phase, as a pause in their life, when the world keeps on moving on. Their professional and social life is completely destroyed in the process of their recovery.
All of these factors combined can lead to depression, and anxiety, making it necessary for cancer patients to receive Psychiatric help before, during and after their treatment. Therapy can help them, cope with their fears. It will prevent them from overthinking, allowing them to be optimistic while preparing them to go back to their old routine without any hassle.
How can stress make a cancer patient’s condition much worse?
The body manages physical, emotional and mental pressure by releasing stress hormones (including norepinephrine and epinephrine) that speeds heart rate, raises blood sugar levels and increases blood pressure.
Research shows that patients who experience long-term (i.e., chronic) or intense stress can have fertility problems, digestive problems, urinary problems, that can cause their immune system to become weak. Further, it also revealed that stress makes people more prone to headaches, cold, depression, anxiety and sleeping disorders. Their body takes longer to heal after getting afflicted with diseases and viruses.
Cancer patients may find the physical, mental, and social effects of the medical condition to be very stressful. Those who try to manage their stress using risky behaviors like drinking alcohol or smoking or by adopting a sedentary lifestyle may live a poorer quality of life after their treatment.
In contrast, patients who use effective coping strategies for dealing with stress, like stress management and relaxation techniques, experience lower level or no depression, anxiety, and other symptoms associated with the disease and its treatment.
However, studies haven’t found any evidence that successful psychological management of stress helps in improving cancer survival rate, but it sure makes the journey much smoother.
However, evidence derived from experimental studies suggests that psychological stress does affect the ability of a tumor to develop and spread. For example, results of some studies have shown that if a mouse bearing tumors is kept isolated from other mice— in conditions that may increase stress – the speed of growth of their tumors can increase rapidly.
Cancer Care in India
All the top Cancer Hospitals in Bangalore, not only have separate departments dedicated to medical, surgical and radiation oncology, but they also provide psychological care to cancer patients.
Cancer patients are prone to experience trauma because of the extensive treatment that is involved in curing it. The best way to manage it is by seeking help on time.