If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer, your emotional responses and day-to-day moods can be all over the map. One day may be filled with fear of the unknown, another may bring sadness and anxiety. These feelings can make depression, which affects one in four cancer patients (according to the National Cancer Institute), difficult to recognize.
What does cancer-related depression look like?
Depression goes beyond feeling sad, anxious, irritable or nervous, and it can be experienced by the person with cancer as well as their loved ones. The signs of depression include:
- Feeling hopeless
- Being in denial or despair
- Having trouble sleeping
- Withdrawing socially
- Losing your appetite
- Losing interest in your favorite activities
- Feeling anxious about or dreading the future
7 ways proven to beat the blues of cancer-related depression.
If you or your loved one are being consumed by negative thoughts during cancer treatment, or even after treatment, try these methods to counteract depression:
- Get to the source –Consult your doctor if you suspect one of the medications you’re taking for treatment has triggered symptoms of depression or exacerbated them. Switching to an alternative drug may ease your symptoms.
- Try natural “anti-depressant therapies” –Many patients and caregivers find relief in aromatherapy, yoga, meditation, hypnosis, guided imagery and other activities.
- Stay social –Try to spend time with family and friends or interact with other people for at least one hour per day.
- Be active –Exercise can reduce stress and help ease depression. Try gardening, tai chi, stretching or light walking.
- Avoid alcohol –It can make depression worse, and even interfere with antidepressant medicines.
- Talk about it –Talk to your doctor, your minister or your mentor. Seek the support of a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist or support group to work through your feelings and challenges.
- Put off big decisions – If you’re thinking about making major life shifts like changing jobs, getting married or moving, try waiting until the depression has lifted so you can move forward with a clearer mind.
Advanced testing could be your edge against cancer and cancer-related depression.
When facing cancer, hope is a powerful ally. Hope can foster positivity, which many experts believe plays a role in battling depression and in achieving successful outcomes. At Certis Oncology Solutions, hope begins with special testing that informs truly Personalized Cancer Treatment in San Diego. By testing multiple drug therapies—concurrently—on your own tumor tissue implanted orthotopically (in the right anatomy) in highly specialized mice, we collect extensive data about what works best against your cancer. This data provides vital information that helps your doctor choose the most effective cancer treatment for you.
To learn more, call 858-228-4110.