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If you are living with cancer, it is not uncommon to experience psychological distress. Whether you are coping with the diagnosis, the challenges of treatment, or continued worry about a recurrence, emotions brought on by the cancer experience can be difficult to handle.
Just as it is important to address the disease itself, your mind and spirit are also in need of care. Addressing your psychological well-being may help you feel more relaxed and in control, cope better during your treatment regime, and enjoy a better quality of life.
Cancer may bring on a range of emotions, including, but not limited to, the following:
While it is completely normal to experience any of these emotions during your cancer journey, it does not mean these feelings should be overlooked. It is important to keep your doctor informed about how you are feeling on all levels so he/she can better manage your care.
Mind-body medicine, or Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), explores the complex relationship between psychological and spiritual conditions, and physical well-being. The "psycho" portion of the word refers to your thinking, emotions and mood states. "Neuro" refers to the neurological and neuroendocrine systems in your body. "Immunology" refers to your cellular structures and immune system.
Mind-body medicine explores the influence of your mind and emotions on your body and immune system, and vice versa. The notion is that the immune system "eavesdrops" on the internal environment. Mind-body specialists are typically psychologists or other mental health professionals who use a variety of techniques to promote health and healing.
During traditional cancer care, patients usually only have access to their oncologist, who focuses on treatments to fight the disease. This is consistent with the medical model in their training as health care professionals. But what about the psychological and spiritual repercussions of cancer? Without access to these resources, the patient's experience becomes much more difficult.
Mind-body medicine can provide added support during a time when you need it most. Some of the potential benefits of mind-body therapies during cancer care may include:
Mind-body medicine uses a variety of techniques designed to help you direct your energies toward healing and health. You can apply the following techniques throughout your life, not just throughout your cancer treatment:
NOTE: THIS INFORMATION IS NOT INTENDED NOR IMPLIED TO BE A SUBSTITUTE FOR PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE. ALWAYS SEEK THE ADVICE OF YOUR PHYSICIAN OR OTHER QUALIFIED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER PRIOR TO INCORPORATING ANY MIND-BODY TECHNIQUES INTO YOUR CARE.
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