Surviving lung cancer means more than just beating the physical disease. There are also emotional and mental challenges that come with dealing with cancer. Learning to live with the disease and the required treatments and medical visits that arise because of it is crucial to survival.
The treatments for cancer can be harsh on the body. Surgery may remove a tumor, but it may also remove parts of or entire organs in the process. After surviving the cancer procedure itself, patients must then learn to survive the new condition they find their bodies in. It is possible that the body will function differently due to the surgery. Procedures like chemotherapy and radiotherapy can also have lasting effects on a patient’s general health.
In addition to these physical challenges, many patients also experience emotional trials as a result of being diagnosed with lung cancer and undergoing therapy to treat it. Some fear that the cancer will return after it has been treated. Others find it difficult to cope with the lasting effects of the cancer and the way it interrupts their daily life. They could also experience a sense of isolation if they perceive that their loved ones don’t or can’t understand their feelings.
Negative feelings arising because of cancer are not unusual. The tribulation of surviving the disease – hearing the diagnosis, undergoing therapy, coping with side effects – commonly causes uncertainty and negativity. Those struggling to survive with lung cancer may feel depressed or anxious because of the disease. It is also not unusual for patients to experience anger and fear due to their illness.
Coping with these emotions is part of the challenge of surviving lung cancer. The first step to doing that is simply to admit that those emotions are there and to try to discern why. Additionally, it is important to realize that these reactions are natural and normal, and may even be helpful.
Anger can result from a diagnosis of lung cancer. Feeling angry about being the one struck with the disease, the one who has to endure the stress and worry of treatment, is normal. Some find that this anger is actually a motivating force as they learn to survive with lung cancer. It can help patients to become assertive about what they want and need from treatment. In patients who do not find their anger motivating and helpful, it is possible to include counseling as part of their new routine for surviving the cancer.
In contrast to anger, other patients could feel depressed as they attempt to survive with lung cancer. Some patients no longer feel like their usual selves and lose interest in the things that had been their favorite activities before their diagnosis. Depression can be destructive. A patient who has survived lung cancer but is now depressed may need support from loved ones in order to cope with their new reality.
Despite any of these feelings, patients surviving with lung cancer should take pro-active steps to managing their disease and going on with their lives. Eating a healthy diet it one way to do this, as a balanced diet not only promotes general good healthy, but can also help patients feel like they are in control of some aspect of their lives still. Exercise also promotes good health and can reduce the risk of the lung cancer returning or spreading.