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Emotional Well-being

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Getting the Psychosocial Support You Need

by Alan B. Astrow, MD

At one time, physicians focused mainly on the technical aspects of can­cer treatment and paid little attention to the psychological or social needs of the people they were treating. For instance, men with prostate cancer may have been unprepared for the bodily changes that accompanied surgery or ra­diation, and young people who were cured of leukemia af­ter physically difficult treat­ment courses may not have known what to expect later on.

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Facing the Fear of Recurrence

by Richard Dickens, LCSW-R

President Franklin D. Roosevelt said it best in his inauguration address in 1933: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In other words, the event we most fear could change our life, but the fear of that event (which might not even happen) can be more disruptive. Chronic fear is insidious.

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Women, Cancer, & Sexuality

by Ralph and Barbara Alterowitz

After cancer, women often feel they have lost a significant part of themselves and their sexuality. Mourning is natural. Women need to learn ways to cope with this loss. But when mourning locks you in, when you let it act as a kind of emotional quicksand, it compounds the tragedy of loss. Many women feel that their cancer has not just changed their sense of self, but has damaged it.

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Make Music Your Therapy

by Suzanne B. Hanser, EdD, MT-BC

You don’t need advice from me. You have everything you need within you. You may not know that – perhaps when you think of what’s inside you, you tend to think about can­cer. But you do have the inner resources and creativity to help you deal with the thoughts and feelings associated with having cancer.

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Holding on to Hope

by Clare Butt, RN, MSN, AOCN, PhD(c)

For most people, hope is impor­tant throughout their lives’ journeys. However, it can be­come even more so after receiving a cancer diagnosis. Cancer can change a person’s view of life, and holding on to hope during these times of change can be a challenge. Surprisingly, however, many people find their hope becomes stronger because of cancer.

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Finding Humor in the Midst of Cancer

by Jim Higley

Cancer isn’t funny. And I wasn’t doing any laughing the first few days after I received my confirming biopsy results.
Sunday was the surprise call from my doctor.
Monday was the day of research.
Tuesday was meeting with the doc­tor to finalize plans.
Wednesday was sharing the news with friends.

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The Importance of Hope

by Lois M. Ramondetta, MD

Although there are many definitions of hope, my perception of hope involves a dynamic response to the rough waves on the sea of life. It is the expectation that good will come despite challenging circumstances. Although some have described hope as a passive process, it is most certainly an active internal process requiring motivational energy. That said, one’s ability to foster hope is, without question, deeply affected by the external state of affairs and by other individuals.

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Overcoming the Emotional Challenges of Cancer

by Dawn Speckhart, PhD

Many different emotions arise after someone is diagnosed with cancer. Like most people with cancer, Greg wanted to continue with life as if nothing was wrong. He was willing to complete necessary treatments, but minimized everything. Most people want to play down the impact of their cancer diagnosis so that they don’t worry their family and friends. In truth, this strategy is an attempt to deny that they are worried themselves. What this strategy really does is leave the person with cancer to worry alone.

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