Handling your distress of treatment-related side effects
Cancer treatments may give rise to a variety of emotions and have a huge impact on the lives of patients, caregivers, and family. It is normal to fear treatment-related side effects. Before you learn to cope with your anxiety about the side effects, we recommend that you familiarize yourself with the various treatments and the potential side effects they may cause. This will help you understand what you are dealing with and ease the anxiety which you are feeling right now. You may refer to this section for more information on the side effects of cancer treatments. Read more
Some of the most common fears of treatment related side effects may include the following – uncertainty of what to expect, fear of loss of control, anxiety about pain, fear of physical changes, dealing with potential sexual problems, and inability to conduct day to day activities.
These fears are not irrational; however, it is important to remember that your cancer treatment is focused on curing your cancer and making you feel better. Many of these side effects may be temporary, lose their intensity over time, or completely fade away.
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Do not be afraid to talk candidly with your physician and cancer care team about your fears. Understanding the possible side effects of your treatment and ways to prevent or regulate them will help you feel in control. Empowering yourself with knowledge of what to expect will help calm your fears.
Focusing on the present and staying involved with every step of your treatment process will also benefit you greatly. Studies have also shown that several patients and caregivers use journals to chronicle the treatment process and side effects. This data can then be used to track the nature and frequency of side effects, have meaningful discussions with your cancer care team, and explore and adopt coping mechanisms which work best for you.
Relaxing techniques like meditation, yoga, breathing techniques, exercise, music, and art therapy have also been known to help deal with treatment related anxiety. Above all, give your body and mind the time it needs – to accept, process, and deal with your fears.