A cancer diagnosis is an instant life-changing event, and it can have drastic effects on your mental health and emotional well-being. Unfortunately, these non-physical effects of cancer are sometimes neglected by oncologists, who are primarily concerned with successfully eliminating the cancer itself. After a cancer diagnosis, it's important to seek out cancer support treatments that can help you with these issues. To learn more about what supportive care entails and why it's important for you to include it as part of your overall cancer treatment plan, read on.
What Is Supportive Care for Cancer?
Supportive care refers to all the types of treatment that don't directly eliminate cancerous cells. This can include therapy, counseling and meditation, along with alternative medicine approaches such as acupuncture and reiki. Supportive care (unlike direct treatment methods such as surgery) is often not included as part of the treatment plan that an oncologist will devise, so patients are often required to seek it out on their own.
Why Is Supportive Care Important After a Cancer Diagnosis?
While direct treatment methods like surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy can destroy cancerous cells in your body, they don't do much for your overall sense of well-being. Improving the way you feel about treatment and helping you cope with your cancer diagnosis is the job of cancer support treatments.
A diagnosis of cancer is extraordinarily difficult for most people to deal with, as it causes drastic life changes. Relationships with friends and family will change, and your career may be put on hold until your cancer goes into remission. A cancer diagnosis also causes people to deal with their own feelings about mortality, which they may not have explored before. While cancer support treatments may not have any effect on the cancer itself, they help provide the emotional and mental support that people need after a diagnosis.
Meditation and other breathing techniques, for example, can help people alleviate the health anxiety that often comes after a cancer diagnosis. Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help with feelings of isolation and depression, and treatments like acupuncture and massage can help improve your overall sense of well-being. Many clinics that provide supportive care services also offer group therapy sessions, where you'll be able to speak with other people who are undergoing treatment for the cancer that you have along with people who have survived it — this provides much-needed social support with others who understand what you're going through.
If you have been recently diagnosed with cancer and you're not undergoing any supportive treatments, it's a good idea to start. The mental and emotional effects of a cancer diagnosis need to be treated along with the physical effects, and cancer support treatments are the best way to accomplish it. By undergoing cancer support treatments after your diagnosis, you'll be better able to cope with living with cancer.
To learn more, contact a resource that offers cancer support treatments.