Cancer’s Impact On Mental Health

Dec 12 • 2016

Cancer affects the body in a variety of ways, both through symptoms and treatment. But many people underestimate the effect that cancer has on a patient’s mental health as well. Whether you’ve personally been diagnosed or want to be there to assist a loved one, knowing what to look for can help you overcome the mental and emotional strain that cancer can cause. Baptist Cancer Center’s nurse navigators can help educate and guide patients during this time, as well as connect them with appropriate resources.


Anxiety is one of the most common emotional issues that cancer patients encounter after a diagnosis. Not knowing what to expect or what the future holds can breed uncertainty, especially when it comes to waiting for test results or determining whether a current treatment is working. That concern about the future – and ultimately, events that are out of their control – is often one of the biggest causes of anxiety issues.


Cancer can also lead to feelings of depression, especially if patients continue to look into their past and analyze the quality of their life thus far. The doubt about the future, including plans and goals, can lead to crippling sadness. As symptoms continue to affect their lives, struggles with completing daily activities, trouble participating in events, or pain from medications and side effects can all contribute to depression.


Another common emotion many cancer patients experience is fear. Whether it is the fear of the unknown, fear of death, or fear of what happens after death, some people find themselves consumed by it. This uncontrollable worry can lead to difficulty focusing, restlessness, and irritability.

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak with your doctor or a counselor to determine the next steps. Remember – not everyone will admit to experiencing these feelings. Knowing what to look for and how to proceed is crucial in ensuring the highest quality of emotional health after a cancer diagnosis. And Baptist Cancer Center can help. Visit Baptist Cancer Center for more information about Baptist’s cancer services and nurse navigators.