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The transition from cancer patient to survivor


I attended a cancer continuing education course back in ’10-‘11 which covered all manner of topics related to patients that have been diagnosed with cancer.

One of the most interesting pieces of advice that our speaker gave, and that many different groups are taking up as well, is that an individual becomes a cancer survivor the moment they are diagnosed.

Maybe it would be difficult for you, but I know it would take me less than 2 minutes to name at least 10 people or more that have been diagnosed with some type of cancer within the last 1-2 years alone.

Survivorship is extremely different and personal to each individual and can even be separated into different descriptive terms depending on the stage that person is at within their care:

  • Acute survivorship – refers to right after diagnosis or during treatment
  • Extended survivorship – completion of treatment or several months post
  • Permanent survivorship – after treatment has been completed and measured in years Continue Reading »

Getting diagnosed with cancer and depression

Receiving the news that you have cancer can be emotionally devastating, so it makes sense that everyone who is diagnosed with cancer is depressed… true?

Actually, the statement above is a myth. Although it is “normal” for cancer patients to feel degrees of sadness and anxiousness as they adjust to accompanying changes in their physical health (and appearance for some), not everyone becomes clinically depressed.  Approximately 15 to 25 percent of cancer patients will also meet the criteria for clinical depression or an anxiety disorder; and because of the myth, their clinical depression/anxiety is often underdiagnosed and undertreated.

So how does one distinguish the difference between a stress/grief reaction to a highly stressful event and clinical depression when diagnosed with cancer? Following are the similarities and differences between grief and depression: Continue Reading »

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