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Psycho-oncology: Let’s Talk About It

Cancer is associated with being a dreaded and life-limiting illness and is known to be the cause of death of millions each year. Cancer not only affects the physical health of the individual but also has a great mental impact that is difficult to handle for many people. Hence, it is very common for individuals to feel emotionally distressed after being diagnosed with cancer.

Why don’t we talk about cancer?

Most people diagnosed with cancer do not usually talk about it. There may be a variety of reasons for unwillingness to talk, ranging from discomfort about the issue to worry about becoming emotional. Whatever the reasons might be, experts highly encourage sharing of your feelings as it can enormously help you in coping with cancer in a much better way. About a third of patients with cancer experience significant distress (a multifactorial unpleasant emotional experience). The field of Psycho-oncology hence came into existence in the early 1980s in the West and later in India.

What is Psycho-oncology?

Psycho-oncology is a super speciality of the professional field of psychology and deals with the physical, psychological, social, and behavioural aspects of cancer to improve the overall quality of life. Though it has been practiced in India for over a decade now, sadly, most people are not aware of it. Moreover, mental health has traditionally been a taboo topic for many, making it even more difficult for cancer patients to talk to a healthcare professional. It is thus extremely important for the cancer patients as well as families to understand that talking to a psycho-oncologist does not imply that the patient/caregiver is mentally unstable, but helps in coping with cancer more effectively.

Benefits of talking to a Psycho-oncologist:

A Psycho-oncologist is a professional who is trained to provide specialized interventions from the time of diagnosis through treatment and beyond. They focus on psycho-social aspects of patients and caregivers along with understanding needs (physical and psychological), help individuals and families deal with loss, learn coping strategies and build resilience. They also engage in pre- and post-operative counseling, and provide support and grief counseling, and work on improving lifestyle.

At Cytecare, our Psycho-oncology team can help you in the following ways:

  • Coping with your diagnosis and treatment
  • Helping you adjust to change and loss
  • Taking about changes with your body(Body image issues)
  • Dealing with changes in your relationships and physical intimacy, sexual concerns
  • Difficulty balancing work, home and family life
  • Feelings of sadness, anger, anxiety, and depression
  • Distress about pain, fatigue and treatment side-effects (Acute/Chronic)
  • Living with uncertainty, including fear of recurrence, advanced disease, and end of life care
  • Emotional support for family and friends (Diagnosis & bereavement)
  • Talking to children about cancer
  • Tobacco cessation

You can either schedule one-on-one sessions with the psycho-oncologist or have a family session which includes your loved ones. A psycho-oncologist can help you and your family ensure your mental and emotional well-being while dealing with cancer in the best possible way. Check our e-Mental health blog to know more about Tele-psychotherapy.

Cytecare is one of the leading cancer hospitals in the country aimed at fighting cancer the right way. We provide you with a holistic treatment of cancer keeping your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing in mind. We offer world-class facilities and modern diagnostic facilities to make the treatment process as smooth as possible.

Ms. Michelle Normen, Senior Officer, Psycho-Oncology Services at Cytecare and a renowned certified professional supervisor has over six years of experience in the field of psycho-oncology. She specializes in Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), Communication Skill Training & Motivational Interviewing (MI), and Supportive Psychotherapy and provides our patients with the best of Psycho-oncology services.

So… let’s talk about it!

To make an appointment, please contact 080 2217 6767 or 1800-123-6767 (ext. No. 103) or visit