Cancer Effects

Brianna Placeway

Background Information

A cancer diagnosis can affect the emotional health of patients, families, and caregivers.

Common feelings during this life-changing experience include anxiety, distress, and depression. Roles at home, school, and work can be affected. Cancer doesn’t just affect your body, it can also affect your mind and many people will experience significant changes to their emotional health. Finding out you have cancer can have a big impact on a person and their loved ones; and feelings of depression, anxiety and fear are common.

Mental Effects

There are many different ways that people can be affected by cancer and it’s not just physically, it’s mentally as well. According to the National Cancer InstituteJust as much as cancer affects your physical health, it can bring up a wide range of feelings you’re not used to dealing with.” Being diagnosed can awaken a bunch of new emotions you never even knew you had. It is a difficult time for everyone and there are many different reactions. 

Being emotional is totally normal. “Finding out you have cancer can lead to many emotions such as being overwhelmed, denial, anger, fear, hope, stress, sadness, guilt, and loneliness” says the NIH. Having one of these emotions can lead to a variety of new ones leaving you with a lot of feelings and not knowing what to do with all of them. Family and friends are very helpful during a hard time like this. 

Acceptance is key. To know you have cancer and know there’s nothing you can do to take it back leaves you with one option, to fight. “When you are first diagnosed, you may have had trouble believing or accepting the fact that you have cancer,” says the NIH. It’s not always easy finding out that you have cancer and accepting it. One second you thought you were fine and then the next step changes everything. How you feel and your perspective on several things, but the big one is a different view on life.

Dangers of Cancer

There are many dangers of the affects. Physical things can be dangerous, yes, but mental health is just as important. The American Cancer Society said that “Cancer is the second leading cause of death, exceeded only by heart disease, in both men and women in the United States.” Cancer affects us in many ways. Not just the person diagnosed with cancer, but also all the loved ones around them as well.

The ACS has mentioned “Individuals who are affected by a diagnosis of cancer experience physical suffering, distress, and diminished quality of life associated with disease-related symptoms, diagnostic procedures, cancer therapies, and long-term/late adverse effects of treatment.” These are some of the many ways cancer can affect you. 

Good nutrition plays a role in many different health roles. “Diet and nutrition are important determinants of cancer risk, both through their contributions to energy balance and via biological mechanisms that alter risk independent of body weight,” from The American Cancer Society. Recent estimates attribute 4.2%-5.2% of cancer cases per year directly to poor diet. Investigating the role of diet in cancer prevention is challenging, because consumption patterns of humans are highly complex, the food supply is constantly changing, and relevant exposure periods are not always known.

Personal Perspective

Acceptance can be very  hard to not just the one that’s diagnosed, but also the loved ones around them. What’s the hardest part about cancer treatment? Personally it was mentally accepting that I have cancer. I understood what it meant and knew all the facts and risks about it but I just couldn’t get over “why me?” 

Has cancer changed your perspective on life? How? Yes it has. It has reminded me that you may not always have the best days, but any day you wake up is a good day.

How big of a part of your life was this? To me, this is only a little chapter of my life. To some people it is a big part of their life but I see it as  a way to help me grow and become  a better person. Yes, it was hard and a big deal but I don’t want it to define who I am. 

Cancer affects people diagnosed and loved ones in many ways, mentally and physically. 

Sadly many of us know somebody who has had to deal with this or maybe even dealt with it yourself. We all know that it’s hard on the body but most of us don’t really think about how draining it is mentally as well.