Emotional and Psychological Effects of Cancer

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Writing 1010
Final Research Paper
April 26, 2012

Emotional and Psychological Effects of Cancer

Nearly 11,958,000 people were living with cancer in the U.S. in the year of 2008. (“Cancer Prevalence: How Many People Have Cancer?”). It is the second-leading cause of death in the United States. Cancer is “characterized by the development of abnormal cells that divide uncontrollably and have the ability to infiltrate and destroy normal body tissue.”(Mayo Clinic Staff) It is caused by a simple DNA mutation that causes the body to create a cancerous cell. It causes many physical complications including: pain, fatigue, difficult breathing, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, and difficult immune reactions known as paraneoplastic syndromes.

The effects of cancer are not only physiological but also psychological and emotional. Cancer causes a number of psychological effects such as: stress, constant fatigue, depression, withdrawal, fear, and anger. When a patient is diagnosed with cancer, their reaction may vary depending on a number of factors such as the type and severity or stage of the cancer, and simply the patient’s personality. In most cases, patients first experience shock or denial once they have heard the harsh news. This is followed, a few days or weeks later, by sadness and depression. Later on they will experience withdrawal, uncontrollable fear of what is to come, anger, and guilt. (“Coping and Support. Emotional Effects of Cancer.”) Some patients feel they have become lost and isolated from the world. For when they are undergoing treatments, they may be physically isolated for periods of time and must wear protective gear to simply exit their sterile room. Permitting contact with anyone or anything that is not necessary for treatment. This is an incredibly emotional taxing time for the patients, for this is the time that contact with family, friends, and the outside world are important for a person’s emotional well-being. Extreme stress is always an...
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