Struggle Of Cancer Patients During An Outbreak

Based on the available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), individuals who are older (over the age of 65) are at higher risk of getting infected with COVID-19. However, the data also shows that those patients with underlying medical conditions, regardless of their age, are prone to the virus infection as well. Some of these conditions to look out for are lung disease, diabetes, and cancer. With that information, it becomes challenging for those people who have a weaker immune system to avoid getting sick. The situation adds pressure because the struggle during this pandemic outbreak is too complicated for them.

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The Risk Of Getting COVID-19 Infection

Patients with a weakened immune system are potentially at risk of the Coronavirus infection. Since their defense system is vulnerable already due to their current condition, the possibility of getting infected triples their chances. Some medical conditions include lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, and other blood-related cancer that directly affects cells of the body. Unfortunately, all individuals experiencing these health-related conditions, even if it is a mild one is at risk. Also, including those patients who are undergoing chemotherapy therapy are not exempted. With all this information, there is too much burden to bear. Most notably, for those patients who struggle to recover and survive.

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Symptoms Of COVID-19 In Cancer Patients

Symptoms of the COVID-19 infection are all the same in cancer patients’ general population. For the most part, all of them experience coughing, sneezing, headache, fever, and respiratory problems. However, one exemption to the possibility of shared symptoms is when patients get treated with steroids or other medications that treat lymphoma and leukemia. That is because the substances of these medications can suppress the development of fever and can only show signs of minor coughing without sneezing. Therefore, there is a tendency that even if patients are positive with the virus, they may end up asymptomatic due to the effect of the medication the patients currently intake. However, in general rule, cancer patients must not ignore even a single symptom of the Coronavirus. Considering their weak condition, coughing, fever, and shortness of breath may appear normal, but it is not. Therefore, if these warning signs persist, it is vital to seek medical attention immediately.

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Test Positive For COVID-19 While Undergoing Cancer Treatment

It is essential to understand that cancer patients are the ones vulnerable to get infected at this rate. So if they test positive while undergoing chemotherapy treatment, considerations have to be made. The patients and health doctors should discuss the things they need to do to secure recovery. They need to understand that the decision on whether cancer patients need to stop or continue with any treatment process depends on a variety of factors. Some of these factors are the stage of the chemotherapy treatment, the physical condition of the individual undergoing treatment, and the severity of the Coronavirus infection to the cancer patients.

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What The Cancer Patients Can Do

In a critical moment like this, cancer patients should understand that protecting their health at all costs is their priority. Therefore they must recognize the practice of frequent hand hygiene. It is vital to ensure washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds. If water is not available, utilizing hand sanitizers can be an option as well. But it should contain at least 60% alcohol in it. Cancer patients and health providers should also avoid anyone that is sick. If possible, they should minimize exposure to people in large crowds as well. Thus, they should practice physical distancing and limit any forms of physical engagements

The Benefits Of A Positive Mindset On People With Cancer

The 2017 Anaheim Conference tackled several topics concerning water and other encompassing issues such as safety, water loss, drought, and water treatment. For cancer patients, their welfare needs to have basic necessities. Apart from that, a positive mindset is often attributed also to help people during times of despair and pain. This idea points out how a positive mindset can significantly benefit people fighting off cancer.

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Cancer is a terrible condition that leaves those suffering from it in despair. They can’t help but imagine how powerless they are against the disease. For this reason, they may end up isolating themselves for fear of making others worry. Isolation often leads them to succumb to the condition even more as they fall prey to depression and anxiety. Thus, the individual should have hope instead and continue living.

Here are three critical takeaways from having a positive mindset during your fight against cancer.

1. Improves Your Immune System

There have been studies on how a positive mindset helps in fighting off diseases. One good example of an investigation instead shows how negative emotional states caused by stress and anxiety have contributed to the formation of Myeloid-Derived Suppressors Cells (MDSCs), which are known to support tumor growth. MDSCs suppress the anti-tumor immune response, thus making a favorable environment for tumor growth. A clear sign that this is not the time for you to feel stressed or anxious.

2. Relieves You From Stress And Anxiety

A positive mindset helps lower your blood pressure and reduces stress and anxiety. With the belief that things will be okay, you help encourage a nurturing environment for the people around you. Such a mindset is enough to help you cope during those difficult days as you fight your cancer.

3. Gives The Courage And Strength To Live On

Each day you can hold on to the idea that this isn’t over for you. As you continue to live each day, you gain courage and strength by having a positive outlook in your future. Yes, a positive outlook will not wholly save you, but the idea that there is still hope helps push you forward. It enables you to gain control of your life and help guide you.

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All is not lost when you face cancer. Remember that a positive mindset will help carry you towards recovery.

The Saving Grace Of Cancer When It Comes To Marriage

  

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Whether cancer comes before or after marriage diversifies a patient’s reaction to the diagnosis. If it occurs when you are still single, for instance, the chances of taking it with a confident heart and mind are high. Once you receive the news when you are about to build a family, then various kinds of worry may become mainstays in your head.

For one, there is the nagging fear that your husband or wife will file for divorce after learning of your incurable disease. In case you are a guy, you might be anxious about not being able to provide the needs of your family during the recovery process. For women, it is possible to worry that the treatments are harsh enough to decrease your ability to bring a child to full term. Witht that, “In the lives of those experiencing anxiety, anxiety has almost always served a purpose as a survival function at some point. ” says Karin Draper, LMFT.

Despite that, making the cancer diagnosis known to you and your partner is a must. You cannot guarantee it immediately, but it may even strengthen or save your marriage in more ways than one.

Source: defense.gov

Research Says It All

If we speak of facts, a study reveals that single men have a 27% higher chance of dying from any cancer than a married man within the first three years of having the illness. The number is 19% when it comes to women, yet the scenario remains the same – bachelorettes have a low probability of surviving from the disease compared to married patients.

The reason, according to Scarlett Lin Gomez of the Cancer Prevention Institute of California, is not just because of the better insurance plan that a spouse may extend to the ill husband or wife. It is also not solely due to having a more considerable amount of money to pool together when seeking a suitable treatment. Instead, the research suggests that cancer-laden individuals live longer than many since they get a stable support system through their significant other.

Source: defense.gov

Being Married Is Better Than Staying Single In The Face Of Cancer

You can imagine how accurate that claim is right now. When you are dealing with the condition for months, it is effortless to feel depressed if you are alone. Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC  explains that “Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core. ” You have no one to voice out your fears to or assure you that everything will go back to normal. Considering you hate burdening your friends and relatives regarding your meals or doctor’s appointments, you might push yourself to cook or drive to the clinic on your own, respectively.

In case you are with your better half, though, there is no need for you to request if he or she can do the latter. That is already a given, especially if your relationship has always been healthy even before the cancer news came. The constant trips to the hospital or check-ins with your partner’s emotions may, in fact, boost the bond that ties you to each other.

Likewise, not needing to oversee different aspects of life besides the medication relieves the stress of a patient as well. It allows healing to take place fast, which is quite an impossible feat when you cannot rely on anybody.

In Conclusion

Cancer itself is incapable of breaking a marriage. If the connection between the husband and wife is powerful, they will not split regardless of whatever disease one or both of them acquire over time. If anything, watching the ill spouse go through this condition may bring the couple together faster than any counseling method out there. Dana Baduna, PhD, LMFT believes that “Participating together as a couple gives the partners the opportunity to pay closer attention to one another and listen more intimately to their needs, wants, and dissatisfactions, thus establishing a closer bond and a more intimate connection.” And that is something.

Why Many Cancer Survivors End Up Staying Single 

In various posts throughout this website, you will see me talking about the benefits of having a spouse when you are a cancer patient. There’s someone who’ll never leave your side even if you are not blood-related; he or she already knows what you want or need before you even ask. Your better half can also serve as your anchor into this world when worse comes to worst. 

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How To Have A Healthy Marriage After Cancer Diagnosis 

Cancer is among the many incurable diseases that make people’s knees wobble. Anything will do except for that because it is an ultra-sensitive and expensive condition in comparison with the likes of diabetes, skin asthma, and much more. The survival rate varies as well, depending on which organs the cancer cells get activated. 

However, is it possible to keep your marriage healthy if you cannot escape a cancer diagnosis? 

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Radiation Therapy Goals And Adverse Effects

 

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Is the thought of radiation therapy giving you panic attacks or increased anxiety? If you are about to undergo radiation therapy, being oriented and knowledgeable about the procedure can ease your worries, making the process more bearable.

 

Radiation therapy is a kind of treatment utilizing proton beams or high energy x-rays targeting cancer cells to destroy or shrink them.

 

Radiation Therapy – Goals

Medical practitioners who supervise radiation therapy are called oncologists. Radiation oncologists are experts in using radiation treatment in slowing the growth of the tumor or destroying cancer cells while making sure that adjacent healthy tissues are not affected.

 

In most cases, the primary treatment given by oncologists to cancer patients is either chemotherapy or surgery with radiation therapy as the secondary treatment. Radiation therapy is then referred to as an adjuvant therapy that targets cancer cell residues that were not taken out during the primary treatment. On other occasions, physicians would advise radiation therapy as the primary treatment depending on the severity or status of the condition.

 

Majority of cancer patients receive a particular kind of radiation therapy because there are conditions wherein radiation therapy alone is enough to treat the illness. On the other hand, some cancers respond best when combining treatments, including surgery, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, or chemotherapy.

 

Radiation Therapy – Side Effects

Every drug has positive and negative effects on the body. Though radiation therapy is a recommended effective treatment for various forms of cancer, like other treatment modalities, it also causes a wide range of side effects that may or may not be temporary. Adverse results vary on the type of cancer, the location, the dose, and the overall health of the patient.

 

The thing about radiation therapy is that it’s a localized treatment, which means that the only part that will be affected is the one where the cancer cells are brewing. But there are common adverse effects of radiation therapy regardless of location, and these are:

 

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  1. Fatigue

Chronic exhaustion or the feeling of being overly tired most of the time is one of the leading side effects of any cancer treatment, let alone radiation therapy. A cancer patient’s severity of fatigue will also depend if there are other treatments involved aside from radiation therapy.

 

  1. Skin Irritation

Some cancer patients who are receiving radiation therapy tend to experience skin peeling, blistering, dryness, or itching. However, these adverse skin reactions are confined to a particular area of the skin that was exposed to radiation therapy. Developing skin problems during treatment is normal and will ease away a couple of weeks after treatment is given.

 

  1. Lasting Effects

Though the majority of adverse effects are relieved in time after receiving treatment, there are those that persist or develop later on. Some of these lasting or late effects would include the development of another type of cancer, but the risk of that occurring due to radiation therapy is uncommon.

 

  1. Localized Side Effects

Aside from the general adverse effects, there are localized side effects that are entirely dependent on the location and type of radiation. If radiation therapy is given around the head and neck, the patient may experience gum sores, dryness of mouth, difficulty swallowing, tooth decay, and jaw stiffness. If radiation therapy is given at the chest, the patient may show breathing difficulties, the stiffness of the shoulders, fever, and cough, and fibrosis.

 

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Good news is, side effects caused by radiation therapy can be prevented or treated by palliative care. Managing and preventing adverse effects is a significant part of treating cancer.

 

 

Counseling For Cancer Patients: Alleviating Negative Responses Against The Illness

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For conflicted people who are having a hard time processing their chaotic emotions, counseling is always the best solution in controlling and responding to the demands of life in healthy, non-destructive ways.

But don’t expect counselors or therapists to solve your problems for you; it doesn’t work that way. Yes, “It’s true that therapy isn’t for everyone and it’s not a magic cure. You still must be proactive and be willing to do the work to improve your situation.” Daisy Chow, LPC, NCC said. They do, however, provide a safe space for people who are going through a rough time, who want to air out their concerns. Counseling is also finding a trained professional to provide unbiased feedback and suggest effective treatment modalities. For this reason, cancer patients are recommended to seek help from counselors who specialize in oncology cases.

Counseling Types

Cancer patients can choose from different forms of counseling based on their preferences, finances, and needs. The common counseling types are:

Source: defense.gov

  

  1. Individual Counseling

For cancer patients who want a more private conversation, individual counseling is the best option. Usually, there are those who are more comfortable sharing their grievances, situations, and emotions with just the counselor. But Elana Schechtman-Gil LMFT reminds everyone that “The foundation of therapy is based on the relationship you build with your therapist. When seeking someone out it’s important you feel comfortable with them ”

During individual counseling, the counselor will ask a couple of personal questions, then he or she would listen to what is being shared, express concern, and offer feedback. Feedbacks would also include suggesting treatment methods that can help with the person’s mental health.

  1. Group Counseling

Technically, group counseling consists of a number of people who have similar problems that meet together to share and discuss situations that pertain to that particular issue. Most of the time, counselors will initiate the discourse then after each member has aired out their thoughts and feelings, guidance and support will be provided. The good thing about group therapies is that cancer patients who feel lonely or are leaning towards depression would realize that they are not the only one fighting a difficult battle. Group counseling provides insight and comfort from its members. “By building a list of people that you trust, with whom you can talk to in times of need, you allow yourself a strong sense of not being alone.” David Klow, a licensed therapist explains.

  1. Family Or Couples Counseling

Cancer patients are not the only ones who are mentally and emotionally affected. People who are surrounding them, especially partners and family members, also suffer from the effects of the condition on their relationship and connection. During family or couples counseling, the counselor would allow everyone to speak up and share their experiences or whatever pent-up emotions they have. Counselors are keen on finding out specific reactions and thoughts that increase the level of stress and conflict between members of the family.

Issues Tackled During Counseling

People often wonder how counseling can help with their issues especially those who are struggling with the effects of cancer. Some of the problems or challenges that are tackled during sessions are:

  • Exploring what cancer has taught you
  • Determine ways on how to cope with the diagnosis to make patients feel in control and less overwhelmed
  • Contemplate on workplace strategies and issues
  • Manage symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment
  • Help develop coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression
  • Learn effective communication with the medical team
  • Address concerns about finances and relationships
  • Teaches the patient’s family how to adjust and understand routine changes caused by a cancer diagnosis

Source: defense.gov

When To Ask For Help

The feeling of despair and distress are normal reactions to the realization of a cancer diagnosis. But if the feeling does not go away after a couple of weeks, counseling must be taken into consideration. Seeking professional help is vital for cancer patients’ mental health and also necessary in learning effective ways to cope with the condition and not interfere with life’s routines.

Remember, you always have the option to ask for help especially if you feel hopeless and helpless. Living life with cancer is challenging, but if you know where to turn to, you’ll find comfort amidst the condition.

Cancer And Its Definitive Link To Psychiatry

 

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Any serious medical condition can severely affect a person’s mental health. Cancer patients are not the only those who suffer from their illness, but their situation also devastates the people around them like their loved ones and caregivers.

According to Lillian Harris LCPC-C, “So much of mental health work is about giving people a space to be witnessed and held while sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly of human life.” Receiving news of a potentially deadly diagnosis, coping with limitations, and going through regular treatment protocols can cause mental disorders like anxiety and depression. Dealing with mental health requirements is essential in the treatment procedure and, on certain occasions, the psychiatry of it all can impact prognosis.

The Impact Of Cancer On Psychiatry

Some cancer patients may lose their capacity to be confident and independent. Others may find that their energy levels have plummeted and activities once enjoyed can no longer be done. Optimum care must be provided to facilitate bearable activities that the patient can experience with minimal utilization of energy.

Majority of cancer patients will experience a system that is comparable to grieving after the diagnosis is given during the palliative stage or end-of-life care. There is data backing up the existence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with both cancer patients and survivors. This evidence is directly a result of traumatic encounters that are associated with the illness, and because of the high potential of poor prognoses.

Treatments for cancer also cause anxiety and depression. A significant adverse effect of chemotherapy referred to as “chemo brain” causes mental fog, depression, fatigue, and other types of cognitive deterioration. The American Cancer Society published an article that shows the connection between chemo brain and depression and has identified that both are to be considered when dealing with cancer treatments.

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Managing Mental Health

Special considerations are required when treating mental illnesses in patients who are struggling with cancer. Depending on the severity or prognosis given by the oncologist, encouragement to have a positive outlook and reminding the patient that eventually, his or her condition will get better may not be possible but this does not signify that treating patients with cancer who have a mental illness is not essential. And because mental health problems are considered as underdiagnosed in patients with cancer, it is advisable to make a proactive resolution in detecting such conditions. As Erica Thompson, LMFT, LPCC explains, “Mental health struggles are real. They can be painful. You may feel alone. In some of the darkest times, you may feel like something is “wrong” with you to the core. ”

Common Mental Health Conditions

The commonly diagnosed mental health problems that cancer patients experience are those disorders that fall under the adjustment scale, which includes depression, anxiety, and other different stress coping and adaptation conditions. Consulting a therapist for psychotherapeutic treatments that are primarily aimed at cancer patients provides extensive guidance and support. “Therapy provides long-lasting benefits and support, giving you the tools you need to avoid triggers, re-direct damaging patterns, and overcome whatever challenges you face.” Chris Corbett, PsyD said.

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Mental Health With Family Members

Caregivers and family members of patients also have increased chances of having anxiety and depression; therefore, proactive support and guidance must also be given to preserve their mental health and deal with stress. Usually, family members experience a similar grieving process experienced by the cancer patient, mainly if the condition is terminal.

Due to their inability to be productive, which is mostly caused by changes in their socioeconomic status, family members who take care of cancer patients have increased the risk of having depression. For this reason, it is vital that family members and caregivers seek professional support once a cancer diagnosis is realized. Treatment for mental illness should always be integrated into caring for both the cancer patient and the people surrounding them

Preparing For Cancer Treatment

The number of cancer cases diagnosed every year is steadily increasing. Many of us dread the diagnosis of cancer, even associating death to the disease. While it is true that some cancers are fatal and that some are diagnosed in the later stage which will mean reduced prognosis, more than ever, research and early diagnostic screenings are put in place to provide early and better detection, up to date evidence-based treatment regimen and continuous drug development. It is often said that surviving cancer is a battle and each warrior has a higher chance of winning when one is prepared and apt with the right weapons to succeed.

source: blogs.discovermagazine.com

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How To Face Cancer As A Couple 

If you need to deal with the cancer symptoms and treatments for months, one question that a curious fellow may ask is: “Do you still have time for love?” 

I know – there is no straightforward answer to that. Every patient has a unique way of handling their condition and relationships. Some individuals tend to swear off dating or getting married entirely to prevent “becoming a burden” to anyone. Others, meanwhile, do not give up on love and still form or maintain romance with someone special. 

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