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Psychological counselling crucial part of cancer therapy

Date : February 17, 2022

Mohali, February 17, 2022: Getting diagnosed with ‘cancer’ can be the most challenging and nightmarish experience for most, even though a majority of cancers are not fatal. The disease not only affects the body, but adversely impacts one’s emotional and psychological health too.

This brings to the fore the importance of counselling patients and their families to help them tide over the difficult period.

Dr Hardeep Singh, Empanelled Consultant, Department of Mental Health, Fortis Hospital Mohali, discusses therapy options to process the cancer crisis.

How cancer affects mental health
Just like diagnosing cancer at an early stage increases the chances for successful treatment, the same holds true for mental health conditions. It is estimated that one third of all cancer patients have a common mental health condition, yet only a small percentage report the same. Once diagnosed with cancer, almost every patient goes through phases of grief – denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It is important that each stage is addressed appropriately. A patient who is suffering from depression or intense anxiety is less likely to follow treatment plans or even take preventive screening. Also they may indulge in lesser physical activity, or take too much alcohol or smoke. There is evidence to suggest that positive mental health improves the outcome of cancer treatment.

Emotional stages
Cancer patients battle with depression, despair, anxiety, self-image, body image and intimacy. Talking to a mental health professional is recommended for early detection and resolution of the same. While it is natural for someone to feel despair, bouts of prolonged sadness along with low energy levels, loss of interest, pessimistic ideas, sleep issues and loss of libido, are likely to cause depression and require medical intervention.

How does therapy help
At times, the treatment may involve medication though most patients benefit from individual counselling sessions. Some patients require specialized therapy called Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Group therapy sessions are another way of addressing milder psychological conditions.

Motivation is the key
Cancer patients need to be motivated as keeping a positive mindset helps fight the disease. Patients should remain physically active and go for daily walks, eat a balanced diet, socialize and engage in dialogue with friends and family. Talking helps alleviate fears or stigma associated with cancer.

Stressing on maintaining a positive mindest, Dr Singh, said, “If the need arises, one should not shy away from taking professional help. Maintain a regular routine and indulge in activities that make you feel happy. This can go a long way in improving your health.”


About Fortis Healthcares

Fortis Healthcare Limited – an IHH Healthcare Berhad Company – is a leading integrated healthcare services provider in India. It is one of the largest healthcare organizations in the country with 27 healthcare facilities (including projects under development), 4100 operational beds and over 419 diagnostics centres (including JVs). Fortis is present in India, United Arab Emirates (UAE) & Sri Lanka. The Company is listed on the BSE Ltd and National Stock Exchange (NSE) of India. It draws strength from its partnership with global major and parent company, IHH, to build upon its culture of world-class patient care and superlative clinical excellence. Fortis employs 23,000 people (including SRL) who share its vision of becoming the world’s most trusted healthcare network. Fortis offers a full spectrum of integrated healthcare services ranging from clinics to quaternary care facilities and a wide range of ancillary services.

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