Many situations in life can affect people strongly. Most of them are life-changing or life-challenging factors that set a before and an after. Disease diagnoses are a proper example, especially if the disease compromises the level of wellness of the person or their life. Cancer is one of those diseases.
Cancer has been known as one of the strongest and most serious diseases. It is a disease that affects the person both physically and psychologically. Many factors make it difficult for a person to cope with the diagnosis of this disease, and one of the strongest is the response of their social circle and how society itself handles that kind of diagnosis. That is why there are many therapies for cancer patients.
That is when psychological therapy becomes even more important. Especially because the benefits of online therapy are powerful and can mark a difference for cancer patients. Since living with cancer compromises all the person's areas of life, patients need to learn how to handle everything that involves and cope with the disease. Cancer symptoms can bring difficulties that can be harmful to mental health. But also, if the patient's response is fear and sorrow, then they have to learn how to deal with that too.
In such times, online therapy for cancer patients is an excellent tool to use. It allows the patient to have therapy sessions from wherever they are, and it also allows the therapist to set the sessions from a safe place for the patient where they can feel comfortable. It is an important therapy for cancer patients that can give them support and can also empower them. With online therapy, the tools to cope with cancer are in the patients' hands.
Psychological Effects of Cancer
As mentioned before, cancer affects patients in many ways. The physical effects of cancer can vary depending on the type of cancer in question, while its psychological effects are present in all patients.
In fact, research has estimated that up to one-third of people treated for cancer in hospitals have a common mental health condition. So there are many psychological effects to consider. But the main difference is the symptoms and how the person responds to their diagnosis and the physical symptoms.
One of the most common psychological effects of cancer is distress. Distress is an unpleasant feeling, emotion, condition, or thought. The patient experiences non-specific symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. One of their main symptoms is mood fluctuations.
According to research, the experience of distress after a cancer diagnosis is not unexpected, nor is it unusual for cancer patients to experience distress during treatment. So distress temporally linked to cancer diagnosis and treatment can be considered an acute and understandable response. Especially if we take into account that cancer is known as a serious and potentially life-threatening illness.
Another really common psychological effect of cancer is depression. It is probably one of the most serious mental health conditions to date. Depression is a mood disorder that negatively affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. Patients with this mental condition usually experience feelings of sadness and/or loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
A meta-analysis found that the prevalence of depression (54.9%) and anxiety (49.9%), compared to those without (17.5% and 18.37%, respectively). Cancer is known as one of the most common leading causes of death all over the world that can appear at almost any age, so it’s understandable that its diagnosis can have such a huge impact.
Following this order of ideas, anxiety is also another common mental health disorder patients can develop. Patients with anxiety disorders usually experience high and maladaptive levels of fear and nervousness without a real or actual reason to be anxious. So, it is understandable that patients with cancer can develop this mental condition. As cancer is a life-threatening illness, its diagnosis itself can trigger the anxiety response.
And these three are just some of the most common psychological effects of cancer. Many others are related to the patient’s social life. Patients with cancer might have to change many of their activities, and that involves a response from people around them. Also, medical cancer treatments are usually aggressive to the body, so they cause some physical changes that can affect the patients' perception of themselves compared to others. This makes the effects of cancer psychosocial and related to self-esteem and self-appreciation. That is also why therapy for cancer patients has to focus on giving them psychosocial and psychological support.
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How Online Therapy for Cancer Patients Helps
Psychotherapy is a tool used in many stages and moments of life because of its benefits. Many situations are so overwhelming that the person going through them might need support and guidance to be able to cope with them. Most of those situations are related to life-changing processes and hurtful and painful experiences. Cancer is an example of both situations. It involves many changes in the patient's life, and it also brings psychological and physical pain and discomfort.
Patients with cancer need to receive treatments that can increase their level of wellness. But most people usually go for physiological treatments first. Even when it’s totally fair to say that the psychological effects are also strong and can also affect the patient's level of wellness. That is why it’s so important for patients to have a support system that involves every single area. Online therapy for cancer patients can give relevant support to the patient regarding their psychological, emotional, and social aspects.
There are several ways online therapy can help both patients and their loved ones:
- By supporting them in coping with the psychological effects of cancer: Both depression and anxiety really affect the patient’s well-being. That is why it is extremely needed to have support from experts to provide the person with tools to cope with that.
- By being a safe place for the patient to express their emotions: With everything that cancer involves, it is understandable that patients have a lot to share. Online counseling is a safe space for them to be able to set free everything they feel and think with the support of a professional.
- By giving the patient the tools to cope with those difficult and uncertain times: Through therapy, professionals teach the patient tools and techniques that can help them face the situations and find a healthier way. That is why therapy for cancer patients is an amazing treatment that can help in many areas!
Where the Benefits of Online Therapy Shine
Online therapy is a really great alternative to regular therapy sessions because it has almost the same benefits and results, with only a few differences in the process. The main difference is the fact that the two parts involved are not in the same physical space. But with the right professional, that can also be a benefit because the patient is in a safe environment. Not only emotionally but also physically, considering that patients with cancer are a risk group for COVID-19.
Thus, online therapy is just a non-physical version of the regular therapy sessions that have been handled for years by psychology professionals. That is why online counseling is a really great alternative, not only during the pandemic but also in the upcoming years. With this option, patients can be wherever they feel comfortable or just have to be at the moment and still get the chance to have the support of a therapist. It allows patients to have a safe place to express themselves and have the support of a professional who teaches them the tools to cope with their current situation.
Online therapy is also one of the very few treatments that can be performed without a physical encounter between the health professional and the patient. This is incredible because it allows the continuity of treatments. With online therapy, there is a need to stop the treatment, and that allows the patient to progress and to get proper support at the right time.
Over the last decades, many areas of life have migrated to the online world, and every day, it’s more common for social interactions to be done online. According to research, the internet offers new possibilities in psychosocial patient care.
There is no doubt that online therapy for cancer patients is an incredible treatment that is also very fitting for the current global climate. It has the same benefits as regular psychological treatment, but with some differences that can also be perks if the therapist knows how to handle them.
Online therapy is a needed treatment for cancer patients because of the strong psychological effects of cancer and also because it empowers the patient with tools and techniques to cope with the entire situation. All that increases the level of mental well-being of the patient.