CARE WITH SAMARA: CANCER & MENTAL HEALTH

What is mental health?

Mental health refers to your emotional and psychological well-being.

Having good mental health helps you lead a relatively happy and healthy life. It helps you demonstrate resilience and the ability to cope in the face of life’s adversities.

Cancer doesn’t just affect your body, it can also affect your mind and many people will experience significant changes to their emotional health. Finding out you have cancer can have a big impact on a person and their loved ones and feelings of depression, anxiety and fear are common. But it’s important to remember that there is hope and help available and many cases of mental illness can be treated.

Why is maintaining good mental health important?

Mental health encompasses an individual’s emotional, psychological and social well-being. These aspects of a person’s well-being can be affected after a cancer diagnosis, during treatment and while in remission. It’s important to remember that your healthcare team is there to treat the whole person, including your mental health concerns. Feelings like stress, anxiety and fatigue are common after a cancer diagnosis. Discussing these feelings with your healthcare team when they arise can strengthen your emotional well-being and provide an enormous sense of relief.

Most people are likely familiar with the positive side effects of meditation associated with mental health, increased awareness, clarity, compassion, and a sense of calm. Improved focus is another benefit commonly associated with meditation. 

A survey conducted at Google and Roche, in which employees used Headspace for 8 weeks, had similar results: participants reported a 46% reduction in depression and a 31% reduction in anxiety.

The continuing rise in cancer rates and longer survivorship underscores the need for effective symptom management across the disease continuum. Based on current evidence, meditation appears to be a promising modality for the relief of both psychological and physical symptoms associated with cancer and its treatments. It’s recommended by the Society of Integrative Oncology as part of a multidisciplinary approach to improving the quality of life of patients with breast cancer.

Disclaimer: The views expressed are of the writer only.

Samara Mahindra

Founder & CEO of CARER
CARER works with cancer patients, caregivers, survivors, and specialists to prevent and help cancer patients. To know more about Carer (Cancer Prevention & Therapy Experts), please visit here.

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