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  • Let’s talk about mental health and cancer

    Let’s talk about mental health and cancer
    10 October 2018

    A cancer diagnosis not only affects and impacts the person diagnosed, but their families, friends and caregivers too. 

    Feelings of depression, fear, and anxiety are common and normal responses for everyone involved. But sometimes, they can feel overwhelming, and can affect your ability to deal with the stress that a cancer experience brings.

    What causes feelings of depression and anxiety? 

    These feelings can be caused by many things. Changes in body image can effect self-esteem and confidence. There can be feelings of loss and grief with changes to family and work roles, increased financial worries and the physical effects of treatments which can negatively impact how we feel. People also have anxiety and fear about the unknown and what might happen in the future.

    Family, friends and carers will often have some of these feelings too. There may be frustration, anger and guilt about the changes to their roles and fear of what the future holds. They may feel overwhelmed and stressed by taking ‘more on’.

    For those affected, these feelings can occur at any time—after a cancer diagnosis, during treatment, or even years after the cancer has been treated. There may be new stressors and old feelings resurface as a cancer situation changes or other life events occur.


    Where to find support 

    Feeling isolated, or as if no one understands, can add to the difficulty of knowing where to go to get help. Support is about decreasing embarrassment about mental health, improving quality of life, and connecting with someone who does understand. Skills that may assist with reducing these feelings can include mindfulness practice, meditation, goal setting, and counselling. 

    Cancer Council 13 11 20 is here to help anyone impacted by cancer, including family, friends and carers, at any stage of a cancer experience. Our professional counsellors can provide support and ways to manage these feelings.

    You are never alone, and there is support to help you at every stage of your cancer journey. 

    Karen Hall
    Cancer Council Nurse
    Cancer Council SA

    Cancer Council SA counsellors have provided more than 1,800 free counselling sessions to patients and their families affected by cancer in the past year. Please call 13 11 20 to get in touch with one of our counsellors today.

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