Intertwined Dance: Cancer and Mental Health

Intertwined Dance: Cancer and Mental Health

Cancer is a word that evokes multitudes of emotions: terror, depression, and not knowing where to turn. All these new and different emotions can significantly affect a person’s mental well-being, thus turning into intricate and undervalued ballet between the mind and body. This life-altering event can completely halt your life plan and mess up your mind, sending you into a frenzy. Let's dive into this article to find out how cancer affects the mental health of a patient and how to overcome it.

How does cancer affect mental health?

 A cancer diagnosis is something that can send an individual on an emotional roller coaster. Still, it is essential to remember that monitoring one's mental health is equally important as monitoring physical health. According to a resource, up to 1 out of 3 individuals treated for cancer in hospital have some mental health condition. Other than that, it was also discovered that around 8 % to 24% of people with cancer suffer from depression. A study also showed that cancer patients who received mental health support lived longer than patients who did not.

What a Cancer diagnosis does to a person's mental health:

The family and healthcare provider of a cancer patient can monitor for signs of mental health issues. They might feel alone and closed off, trapped and afraid. However, some symptoms may overlap with their treatment, but it is best to look out for these mental health issues mentioned below:

Distress and Numbness:

These feelings may arise due to abrupt life changes, causing a feeling of sadness or worry. Some might also wholly detach from their emotions; they could feel neither sad nor angry like they merely exist. This mental shutdown could be their survival instinct that this malignant tumor that is growing inside of them could be something way more than they can process.


This new shift in life can make the patient lose interest in everything they once enjoyed, leaving behind feelings of sadness and distress. Worst of all, it could also lead to suicidal thoughts. Individuals with depression also have trouble sleeping or oversleeping. They also experience changes in energy levels.


Anxiety is one of the most common feelings that arises when a person experiences something traumatic; it may lead to tension, worries, and intrusive thoughts. This condition can also get worse when you deal with stressful life events.

What can you do?

Someone you love might be battling this treacherous disease, and you must be wondering how to help. There are several ways in which you could do that. You can try to be there for them; if they want to talk to someone just to vent, you can lend them your ear. Be sensitive and empathic to their feelings and encourage them to open up to other family members or professionals. If they are worried about managing their finances, you can help them out by lending money or checking out resources that can help them out. You can encourage them to join support groups or get a doctor’s referral for mental health and social support services. You can also help them by helping them keep their energy levels up by encouraging them to engage in physical activity; helping a person stay physically active could reduce the risk of depression and lower the rates of cancer recurrence amongst survivors.


When we or our loved ones suffer from something traumatic, such as cancer, we have to keep in mind that mental health is as important as physical health because even if you are doing well physically, your mental health could be taking a hit because of sudden changes in your life. It is essential to treat yourself or your loved ones with love and care, manage your and their emotions with sensitivity, and help them get the help they need; other than that, try to understand their low moods and energy levels and help them navigate their complex emotions between cancer and mental health, giving their hope amid the dark.



References :

Managing Mental Health After a Cancer Diagnosis - Nursing@Georgetown

Paying for Cancer Treatment | Cancer Survivors | CDC

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