Medical providers know that cancer is stressful for patients. On a daily basis, oncology staff work with patients who are trying to stay on top of bills and manage a household while fighting for their lives. Nurses, physicians and other providers try to help minimize the strain by doing what they can to accommodate patients coming in for chemotherapy, radiation and treatments, but patients still suffer.
A new study reported in MedPage Today, revealed that more than 20 percent of people diagnosed with cancer have symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a month after diagnosis. Those numbers remained after six months and continued as the study progressed. The study concluded that more support was needed to help patients dealing with cancer.
What is PTSD?
Post-traumatic stress disorder is classified as a trauma or stress-related disorder that develops after people experience or witness a traumatic event. Generally, individuals suffering from PTSD often suffer from nightmares, intrusive thoughts, flashbacks as well as negative thoughts and feelings that may ultimately result in heightened reactivity or avoidance behaviors. Note: this list is not exhaustive and anyone concerned about someone potentially having PTSD, should encourage that person to be evaluated.
PTSD ultimately limits that person’s ability to function. For individuals battling pleural lung cancers and mesothelioma, PTSD can have a significant impact on their quality of life and ability to fight the disease.
How medical care providers can help
The best way to help individuals with PTSD is to put them in touch with valuable resources.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is the gold standard for helping individuals dealing with PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy can help the individual stave off depression and maintain better health.
Another benefit for individuals is to put them in touch with resources to help them with some of the financial challenges which may be contributing to their trauma. The financial costs associated with treating cancer are enormous. Individuals with work-related mesothelioma may be able to obtain benefits through workers compensation, but even that may not be enough. Often these people are unaware that they may be eligible to pursue a separate legal claim for asbestos-exposure.
Making these people aware that these options are out there can help a lot.