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Last Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Psychiatric Problems In Cancer Patients - All You Should Know!

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Dr. Akshata BhatPsychiatrist • 12 Years Exp.MBBS, MD - Psychiatry
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According to World Health Organization, cancer cases have been doubled in past 30 years. Cancer is a life-threatening disease, so the psychiatric problems in cancer patients are also very major. At least one-third of the cancer patients face psychiatric problems. Due to increased mortality, patient start to develop psychiatric disorders.

Psychological Problems in Cancer Patients:

There are two major psychological disorders which are common in cancer patients:

Depression and Anxiety: Grieving over the life chances due to cancer is normal. Life suddenly depends on other. However, if a person is sad for a long duration of time and cannot overcome, there are chances that they might be suffering from cancer. Depression can cause a lot of harm to the patient, physically and emotionally. Patient usually loses interest in getting the cancer treatment, and it also causes distress emotionally. If the symptoms of clinical depression are clear to the patient or the people around them, it is strongly recommended to start taking therapy session.

Symptoms of Depression:

Some of the most common symptoms of depression are:

  1. Being hopeless and unmotivated

  2. Losing interest in all activities which were fun before

  3. Trouble in concentration

  4. Doubting the self-worth

  5. Feeling guilty

  6. Regular suicidal thoughts

  7. Huge weight loss or gain

  8. Always feeling tired

  9. Being restless

What to Do If Someone Going Through Cancer Depression?

  1. Let them know that treatment of cancer will help them improve their condition. There is no reason to be hopeless as cancer is curable. Reassurance is the key.

  2. Try to keep the patient busy with a conversation or activities that they enjoy. Never leave them alone.

  3. Encourage them to do mild exercises every day.

  4. Tell them being optimistic is the way to go for cancer treatment.

  5. Promote therapy.

  6. Tell them to continue with cancer treatment. It also helps with depression if the condition of the patient improves.

  7. Let them know they are not alone.

Treatments to Cure Psychiatric Problems:

Apart from the support from family and friend which definitely helps the patient, there are few clinical methods which help in curing psychiatric problems in cancer patients.

  1. Medication: It can be very useful for the patients when it is consulted with the doctor. Medication should not affect the cancer treatment. Some people respond to therapy in a positive way. People with severe depression are recommended to medication and the psychotherapy as well.

  2. Psychotherapy: Therapy goes a long way for cancer patients, as it helps them to talk openly and tell their perspective. Therapy focuses on changing the thought process of a cancer patient. A therapist gives a valid reason and approach to the patient with a problem-solving attitude. Therapy helps the patient with rational thinking and generates a positive attitude towards life. By eliminating negative thoughts in the patient, therapist encourages the patient to go on with the treatment and be optimistic.


There are many treatment options, but it is always advisable to consult a doctor before opting for any treatment. Since everyone is different from other, their condition causes and symptoms also differ from one other, consulting a doctor is always a great and a safe idea.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!

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