Far too many people will be aware of the emotional toll of being diagnosed with mesothelioma, an incurable asbestos cancer. A diagnosis of mesothelioma can be catastrophic for the victims of the disease and their loved ones. Acknowledging the mental toll of this disease, researchers in Malaysia have been studying the link between mesothelioma and PTSD.
A mesothelioma diagnosis is extremely devastating in itself and also marks the beginning of a long process. This process may include starting treatments, managing symptoms, and breaking the news of your cancer to loved ones.
Research into the psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis
Researchers are looking into the psychological impact of being diagnosed with cancer. Following a study, the researchers reported that a fifth of people with cancer suffer with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The study, by researchers from the National University of Malaysia, found that 20% of patients suffering with cancer had the trigger symptoms of PTSD four weeks after a cancer diagnosis. The number with PTSD increased to 33% four years post-diagnosis.
The study expands on previous studies – both in terms of the methodology and the length of time that they followed the patients for.
What is PTSD?
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a specific condition which differs from depression and anxiety. The symptoms are divided into four separate clusters and include: re-experiencing, avoidance, hyper arousal and negative thoughts.
The study highlights the need for support
A major concern is that those who are diagnosed with mesothelioma, or any other terminal cancer, should receive care and support after diagnosis. Helpfully, the study showed that patients who subsequently received cognitive behavioural therapy had a marked improvement in their condition. Clearly, patients who are diagnosed with asbestos cancer should carefully consider the benefits of therapy.
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