When patients receive a cancer diagnosis, depression sometimes follows. According to the National Cancer Institute, depression, sadness and grief are often experienced by patients and are a normal reaction to the crisis of a cancer diagnosis.
Major depression affects about 25% of patients. Patients often experience common symptoms that can be treated, although not every patient experiences all symptoms. Some common, initial reactions to a cancer diagnosis include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Loss of Appetite
Contributing to the depressive state, patients often dwell on how the cancer might affect important issues or areas in their lives, such as:
- Death and dying
- Physical changes
- Money concerns
- Changes in life plans and/or social role
Dealing with Depression
At diagnosis, palliative care begins and continues for the duration of the patient’s treatment. Once a person adjusts to a diagnosis, these symptoms usually dissipate, although terminally-ill patients are often more troubled about their physical symptoms and feel guilty about relying on others for assistance.
Signs that a patient is adjusting and accepting a cancer diagnosis include the ability to be active and participate in daily activities, as well as functioning as a spouse, parent or employee while maintaining treatment. Family members play a key role in the patient’s treatment for depression. If family members of a cancer patient speak openly and honestly about their feelings, and work together to solve problems, both the patient and the family will experience lower levels of depression.
If you have questions or concerns regarding Cancer or Cancer Care, please call the Medical Center of McKinney at (972) 547-8000. To make an appointment with our Radiology team, call (972) 758-6200. You can also visit us online.