Despite the huge emotional burden of a cancer diagnosis, many patients and survivors are missing out on vital mental health support when coping with the illness and its aftermath.
According to a 2014 study, 54.1% of cancer survivors need help managing concerns about their cancer coming back. Another study suggested that it’s common for cancer survivors to experience some symptoms of PTSD such as nightmares, avoidance, hypervigilance and negative self-perceptions. Despite this, not all cancer survivors are receiving mental health support to help them deal with a potentially life-threatening diagnosis.
As a three-time cancer survivor engaging with the online cancer community about this topic, I recently Tweeted the question:
Cancer patients and survivors, I’m curious about how much your medical team spoke to you about your emotional and mental health, particularly after treatment. How prepared were you for the emotional impact of cancer? #cancersurvivor#AYA
I was overwhelmed by the number of responses my Tweet received in just a few hours. Experiences varied, from patients not being informed at all of the mental health support available, to being given leaflets or names of resources, being referred for counselling upon request, or being provided counselling without needing to ask. The number of people that fell into the first category was concerning – though for me as a cancer survivor, unsurprising.
I watched a movie on the Sony Christmas Movie channel, missing some probably key bits of information and describing all the super important stuff I picked up to a friend via DM as I watched. This is the slightly mad result.
Morning all! I am feeling that kind of chipper I feel when a procedure I wasn’t looking forward to is over and done with, and today that procedure was as short as they come – a coronavirus test. I was apprehensive about getting it and did a little search online beforehand to try to gauge what it was going to be like, so I thought I’d write up my experience here in case it helps someone else who’s also looking and has anxiety about these things like I do.
Greetings, earthlings. It’s been a while since I blogged and I haven’t really explained much about what I’m doing these days. As you know, I’m working on my PhD, while still working my day-job in marketing. I’d like to tell you a little about what my PhD is all about, without giving too much away or going on and on. There’s so much I could say about it, but I’ll try to keep it straightforward!
Thank you so much if you tuned in to hear me on BBC Radio Northampton this evening! If you would like to read my poem in full, you can see it below. The radio show is available on BBC Sounds here and it’s available for 30 days – just fast forward to 1 hour 41 to hear me!
I accidentally extended my own lockdown by fracturing my ankle so now moving off the couch to go anywhere is a hassle slightly reminiscent of recovering from cancer surgery. It hurts less than it did a week ago, though.
Hi! It’s been ages, hasn’t it, but at the same time it’s hard to tell because the world is on fire.
I’m going to be on my local radio station on Friday night, around 7.40pm on BBC Northampton, reading part of a lyric essay and talking about writing and my piece, which of course is about my usual subject.
I’ve been wanting to write something for a little while but haven’t really known what to say or where to begin. I was up half the night with trapped wind and slept in two hour blocks for maybe six hours total. After going to bed at about half eleven, I drifted off at about half one and was up every two hours either going to the loo or taking Rennies and pacing our small kitchen trying to get my wind up. When I woke up at 8.30am I decided I’d rather get up than try to have a lie in, because the wind and pacing and not sleeping reminded me of the days and weeks after surgery. So, not cool.
I read a paper talking about PTSD and cancer. Here, I fixed it. We need to hear more from people who are living with and after cancer, not those who have zero idea of what the emotional and mental fallout actually feels like.