Cancer and your mental health
This Mental Health Awareness Week (9th-15th May) we encourage you to prioritise your mental health and wellbeing. The theme for this year’s event is loneliness.
If you are going through cancer treatment or diagnosis, or you are supporting someone who is, this may increase your feelings of loneliness or isolation.
Experiencing cancer can mean managing difficult emotions throughout the cancer journey – from diagnosis until the end of treatment. Ending treatment may trigger a range of emotions and anxiety about the future, without the reassurance that regular contact with a healthcare team may bring.
Cancer Research UK reports that depression is said to be the least recognised symptom in people with cancer. One patient told them:
“It wasn’t until a long time afterwards that I realised the stress of my cancer had made me depressed and very tearful. It might be that at the time, you put so much effort into getting over the diagnosis and getting through the treatment that you don’t always have a chance to think about it all. It isn’t until everything is over that it hits you”.
Learning about an advanced cancer diagnosis can also feel overwhelming. This is where cancer may have returned or stopped responding to treatment. You can find out about ways to cope with the emotions and practical issues on the Maggie’s website.
Read more about Mental Health Awareness Week on the Mental Health Foundation website.