PTSD and Cancer Diagnosis
I think it is safe to say that to be diagnosed with cancer can be one of the most traumatic things a person can experience. Though there have been great advances in the treatment of cancer, for many the thought of it still harkens to death at worst and years of suffering at best. There has been research carried out in Malaysia which looks at the incidents of PTSD in people with cancer diagnoses. One fifth of people with cancer suffer with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). For one third of these people the symptoms of the PTSD worsened or remained consistent for four years after the diagnosis.
If these finding are correct, then we need to be looking at the mental health of cancer sufferers not only the physical health and well being. It is a great pity that this, currently, is not being studied in the UK. I have seen several cancer survivors in my practice and some have actually said that the cancer was bad, but the feelings of anxiety and depression are far worse. Psychological therapy and support should be offered to cancer patients as a matter of routine rather than waiting for problems to develop which then require intervention.