We have all heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from soldiers in wars, but few are aware that PTSD can happen to anyone as a result of intense stress situations such as cancer.

Cancer is likely one of the most stressful situations a person will face in their life. Reported rates of lifetime cancer-related PTSD range from 3% to 22%.1 PTSD tends to develop and manipulate a cancer survivor’s mind over time. However, there are ways and means to prevent and cure PTSD in a clinically supported way.

Let us understand what PTSD is in little more detail. You could possibly develop PTSD if you are experiencing feelings of shock, fear, helplessness, or horror. Since this is a psychological situation, you may tend to develop PTSD or PTSD-related symptoms anytime during the process from diagnosis to treatment.2

Throughout your cancer journey – from diagnosis to post-care, watch out for symptoms of PTSD. Some of the very prominent symptoms1 could be, but are not limited to:

  • Stress-related to/during the diagnosis or while you are waiting for the results
  • Remission interrupted by acute episodes of stress
  • Perceived feeling of not being able to escape the situation and feeling of helplessness
  • Bodily signs as persistent reminders, such as pain, feeling drowsy

PTSD in cancer patients

Trauma could start to develop as soon as the individual comes to terms with the cancer detection. Published research1 suggests that past traumatic life events such as pre-cancer psychiatric disorder, history of negative life stressors, and cancer situations such as advanced stage of cancer and more than one occurrence of cancer are more likely to trigger a PTSD scenario.

Medical experts suggest that individuals experiencing these symptoms for a long time could need near-term medical attention to treat PTSD.

Early assessment helps effectively and efficiently treat PTSD. Patients could develop PTSD symptoms at any stage of their treatment process.

Doctors and therapists generally use surveys and interviews to talk to cancer survivors and assess the level of complexity of PTSD. The doctors could use varied methods for treating the situation, such as:


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