Cancer Education Center

Welcome to the Slaggie Family Cancer Education Center page. Our goal is to empower patients and their supporters to become active partners in their health care by providing relevant information, increasing knowledge and learning from one another’s experiences. Follow the Cancer Education Center page and stay up-to-date as we post accurate and timely cancer-related information on topics such as cancer prevention, risks, treatments, clinical trials, end-of-life care and survivorship. No matter where you are in your journey, we are here to help.

 

PUBLIC PAGE
Tue, Jun 19, 2018 1:14pm

Cancer and Depression: When Should You Be Concerned?

By Megan Roessler M. Ed., @meganroessler

shutterstock_639856240Mental health seems to be getting more press recently because of high profile people committing suicide.  As unfortunate and sad as it is that this has happened, bringing the topic out as one we can discuss is the silver lining.  Depression is often a whispered word.  One that people don't want to admit is their diagnosis.  Something you may think you can "get over" or just need to "buck up."  I heard a physician once say,  "We wouldn't expect someone to get over a cold or a broken leg by sheer will.  Why should that be expected of depression?"

As a cancer survivor, you probably have good days and bad days when it comes to feeling well, having energy and a good sense of well-being.  However, there's a difference between the normal feelings of sadness and grief associated with a diagnosis of cancer and the symptoms of true clinical depression. Research shows that about 25 percent of people with cancer suffer from clinical depression. It's important to recognize the symptoms:

  • Loss of interest in daily activities,
  • Persistent sadness or feeling of emptiness,
  • Sleep disturbances,
  • Significant weight loss or gain,
  • Loss of concentration,
  • Fatigue, and
  • Suicidal thoughts or behavior.

Recognizing depression in a person with cancer is not easy. Many times, the same symptoms are attributed to the cancer itself, or to the side effects of treatment. It's not uncommon to feel a sense of loss, sadness, anxiety and withdrawal after first receiving a diagnosis of cancer. However, it's important to seek help if these feelings last longer than a few weeks and interfere with your usual functioning. Speaking openly and honestly with your healthcare provider is an important first step in moving forward. Early diagnosis and treatment of depression is vital to your recovery to help ease the symptoms, increase your quality of life, and most importantly, help you successfully participate in cancer treatment.

If you're a cancer survivor and have experienced depression, please feel free to share your experience on this topic with others.

 

 

Nancy Bush) I lost my husband of 67 years, seven months on May 4, 2018. The service was beautiful. Since then I have been so teary, not sleeping very good, I try to keep busy, one son,(oldest) has been very mouthy in many conversations. All together I have four boys, one daughter. I have my own medical problems. :(I am 85) I have two kinds of lung cancer. My #2 son lost his first wife to cancer and his second wife has lung cancer and brain caner. Another son has his bone marrow putting out too many red cells, which he is not cancer med's. As a mom, I can't help any one of my "kids". I have been so emotional since my hubby passed. I have a doc' appointment next week to see if he can help me to get somewhat over this (I guess) depression. Just thought to post this to see what idea's anyone here has. Thanks for listening. Nancy. (PS. I do talk to Colleen and Hopeful in the lung cancer group, haven't done that in about three weeks. Just so much to handle.

@shortshot80

Nancy Bush) I lost my husband of 67 years, seven months on May 4, 2018. The service was beautiful. Since then I have been so teary, not sleeping very good, I try to keep busy, one son,(oldest) has been very mouthy in many conversations. All together I have four boys, one daughter. I have my own medical problems. :(I am 85) I have two kinds of lung cancer. My #2 son lost his first wife to cancer and his second wife has lung cancer and brain caner. Another son has his bone marrow putting out too many red cells, which he is not cancer med's. As a mom, I can't help any one of my "kids". I have been so emotional since my hubby passed. I have a doc' appointment next week to see if he can help me to get somewhat over this (I guess) depression. Just thought to post this to see what idea's anyone here has. Thanks for listening. Nancy. (PS. I do talk to Colleen and Hopeful in the lung cancer group, haven't done that in about three weeks. Just so much to handle.

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Hugs to you. You are in a very difficult situation and it's hard to imagine not being depressed. You're experiencing great loss and challenges. Anyone would be overwhelmed. I have challenges now with my husband's cancer illness but thankfully my daughter is well and thriving…..if she were also experiencing great difficulties and I couldn't help, I would hit my tipping point. Please reach out to your doctors and get a counselor who can help by listening and getting you in touch with any services that might help. Reach out to friends and others in your cancer community (including here) whenever you need support and 'share' your grief and needs. That saying that it takes a village to raise children should be expanded to include, 'it takes a village' to deal with cancer.

@shortshot80

Nancy Bush) I lost my husband of 67 years, seven months on May 4, 2018. The service was beautiful. Since then I have been so teary, not sleeping very good, I try to keep busy, one son,(oldest) has been very mouthy in many conversations. All together I have four boys, one daughter. I have my own medical problems. :(I am 85) I have two kinds of lung cancer. My #2 son lost his first wife to cancer and his second wife has lung cancer and brain caner. Another son has his bone marrow putting out too many red cells, which he is not cancer med's. As a mom, I can't help any one of my "kids". I have been so emotional since my hubby passed. I have a doc' appointment next week to see if he can help me to get somewhat over this (I guess) depression. Just thought to post this to see what idea's anyone here has. Thanks for listening. Nancy. (PS. I do talk to Colleen and Hopeful in the lung cancer group, haven't done that in about three weeks. Just so much to handle.

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You have had a lot to deal with over the last few months! I'm sure life is very different without your husband. 67 years together is amazing and I can't imagine how difficult it would be without him in your life. You are understandably dealing with grief and loss, but also a big lifestyle change too. Add cancer. Add the stress of your son's mouth. No wonder you are teary and not sleeping well. I think you are smart to go talk to a medical professional. It can be hard to share our struggles, but the first step is to say it out loud (or type it as you have done here!) Cindy is very right in that the "village concept" should be expanded. We aren't able to get through life alone – we need other people to help us along the way. I'm hoping you get some answers and also some relief. Take care and thank you for sharing here on Connect, Megan

Thank you Megan, I will see the primary doctor tomorrow, I have many things to discus with him, and hopefully he will have some advise on how to deal with everything. I seem to berate my self, and that isn't good either. Some fits of anger, tears, stuffed up nose and I know that I should not do that, but it all happens and I can't seem to stop. I hope to get answers, maybe medicine. and I don't know. Have had to bring in lawyer's, which adds to the day.
shortshot nancy)

Nancy, It's a lot to deal with. Good thing is the Dr appointment is coming soon. I saw a magnet once that said, "Instead of heavy duty – why not put yourself on the gentle cycle?" Be gentle with yourself – you certainly deserve that much!
Take care,
Megan

@shortshot80

Thank you Megan, I will see the primary doctor tomorrow, I have many things to discus with him, and hopefully he will have some advise on how to deal with everything. I seem to berate my self, and that isn't good either. Some fits of anger, tears, stuffed up nose and I know that I should not do that, but it all happens and I can't seem to stop. I hope to get answers, maybe medicine. and I don't know. Have had to bring in lawyer's, which adds to the day.
shortshot nancy)

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Hi, @shortshot — you have certainly been through a lot recently. Kudos to you for even taking the time and energy to post here.

I can't imagine losing my husband, especially after 67 years. I can only imagine that would be extremely hard. You also have a lot of other things on your plate, too. I am glad to hear you went in to see your doctor, and I trust that was helpful.

I note you have been part of the Lung Cancer group discussions, which is great. At some juncture when the time is right, you might also look at this discussion on Loss and Grief, here: https://mayocl.in/2AaWXQN.

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