Mon. Feb 17th, 2020

Fitness Rar

Get Da

The psychological and emotional impact behind the word cancer

"The first thing I thought was‘ I'm going to die. " I thought I was not going to get over it because I had the concept cancer = deep-seated death. Above all, I thought I had a six-year-old daughter that I would not be able to see grow, study, laugh … That killed me. ”

Who speaks is Vanesa Gómez, 38, and one of the protagonists of Call it Cancer the awareness campaign with which the Spanish Association Against Cancer wants to stand up to the reality behind the word.

And, for sick people and their families, cancer is a disease that has a great psychological and emotional cost . Uncertainty about medical tests and treatments, the need to feel loved and understood by others, lack of information … It is common to generate negative emotions, such as anxiety, sadness, fear or anger.

To do this, it is key to understand the emotional process experienced by people affected by the disease and provide them with the psychological support they need.

Fear of cancer, how to deal with it

In addition : Cancer costs Spain at least 19.3 billion euros

The word cancer and its psychological impact

The word cancer still contains today a series of connotations that make, in many cases, the most threatening disease of all (above others also considered as serious).

“Traditionally, cancer has been a disease that inevitably led to death. It was intended to hide his diagnosis and even mention the word cancer for many people is still complicated. Probably, no disease has withstood a negative stigma as strong over time as cancer, so that the old myths have persisted despite the fact that, in recent years, research, early detection and treatments have advanced so much that there has been a notable increase in survival ”, explain the psychooncologists Carmen Yélamos and Elísabeth Berzal.

Emotions after cancer diagnosis

It is not surprising, therefore, that, according to a report of the World Health Organization (2002), more than one third of people with cancer suffer from clinical anxiety and depression.

“Cancer is a turning point in the life of affected person There is an impact that consists of a series of phases that begin with the experimentation of an initial shock, denial and disbelief, followed by confusion, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and fears and, finally, a phase of readjustment to the diagnosis ”, they point out.

How cancer affects psychologically

Logically, all this affects how the person sees and is now defined, in his self-concept and personal identity. It goes from being a person with a "normal" life to being a "sick person" or "patient." This can trigger different emotional responses caused by the lack of control over the situation and events :

  • Depending on the process and phase of the disease, intense and unpleasant emotions may appear. Fear, sadness or guilt, loss of appetite and sleep disturbances experience intrusive thoughts about the diagnosis and its impact on the future, concentration difficulties …
  • It is also frequent the sense of disbelief, accompanied by thoughts like "this cannot be happening to me" which can trigger a denial of everything related to the disease.
  • Treatments and their side effects often cause discomfort and limitations. Treatments can influence the person's body image, as well as their sexuality their fertility and their self-esteem.

In any case, the changes after diagnosis are not always negative. Personal values ​​undergo changes due to cancer, which make life be viewed from another perspective . Thus, some people who have suffered from this disease verbalize, even, who have learned a lot about themselves and have improved their quality of life.

Managing emotions to deal with illness

The way you deal with illness influences your quality of life. In this sense, expressing our concerns is a fundamental process to better manage the emotional whirlwind that is emerging right now.

“People with cancer and their families may have difficulties to identify and understand what they are feeling, but also to communicate it to their environment . Sometimes, they do not express what they feel for fear of harming people around them or for feeling guilty of their own emotions. However, in the long term, the lack of close and intimate communication can produce more feelings of loneliness and isolation. And vice versa: generating a climate of trust, support and understanding usually promotes a state of calm and well-being that helps the person to face this process, ”advise the experts in psycho-oncology of the AECC.

Psychological support and accompaniment [19659009] Also, remember that resorting to a psycho-oncologist can be of great help throughout the entire disease process . “Psychological attention is focused, among other aspects, on reducing the emotional impact after diagnosis, improving treatment information, communication and family support and helping to solve personal organizational problems… In the survival phase, carries a training to improve self-esteem, body image and sexuality, as well as recovering or establishing habits of physical exercise and food, performance of social activities or preparation for incorporation into the workplace Similarly, psychological care also plays a fundamental role in the end of life, both for the patient and for family members. ”

Meet the AECC psychological care service

The role of psycho-oncology in the process Oncological

Finally, the team of psychologists and psychologists of the AECC highlight the role played other types of emotional help such as testimonial and accompaniment volunteer of the Association . “They are a source of real emotional support that can help the person in this process of coping with the disease. Being and feeling accompanied, having a person next to you who listens to you and supports you in the hospital, at home or through the telephone, listening to the testimony of a person who has gone through a similar situation … All this helps to facilitate communication and expression of feelings and concerns . In addition, the testimony of a person who has lived this experience represents a model of coping and adaptation to the disease that promotes participation in the recovery and rehabilitation of the person with cancer. ”