Your attitude won't change your cancer prognosis but good mental health can improve your quality of life.
It can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude throughout your cancer treatment. And here's a secret: you don't have to be upbeat all the time.
A positive attitude won't guarantee your recovery or prevent cancer from returning. Pressure to maintain a positive attitude when you're feeling stressed out can even make you more stressed and unhappy — the last thing you need to worry about when you have so much else on your mind.
So should you bother?
Your attitude is important when you're fighting cancer, but not for the reasons you might think. Here are some points to remember about a cancer diagnosis and your emotions:
- Grief and sadness are normal. Don't feel like you always have to be upbeat or strong when it comes to your diagnosis. You did not cause your cancer, and you cannot control your tumor growth with a positive attitude. You will have good days and bad days.
- Depression can be treated. When sad or angry feelings linger too long, worsen or interfere with your daily life, you may need help coping. If you suspect you are depressed, talk to your doctor about what you can do and if medication or therapy may be necessary. Depression can contribute to cancer fatigue, a common side effect of cancer that makes it difficult for your body to handle treatment.
- Hope can improve your quality of life. Emotional support and mental health care can help patients better manage their treatment, the American Cancer Society says. Medical professionals or support group members can help you find ways to help yourself through diagnosis and treatment and move forward with your life.
Multiple sources of support for cancer patients are available through the Aventura Comprehensive Cancer Center. We have support groups that meet regularly for caregivers, cancer patients, survivors and more. We also offer programs on coping, body image and relaxation. Please call 305-682-2151 for more information.