Quality of Life
Find practical information on how to manage common challenges faced by people living with cancer.
We’ve all heard of post-traumatic stress, which is generally used to describe feelings of anxiety and fear following a frightening or life-threatening experience, such as receiving a cancer diagnosis and undergoing treatment. However, such experiences can also cause a positive life change or a period of improvement. In fact, some studies suggest that reports of growth following a traumatic event are more common than reports of psychiatric disorders taking place from the experience.
After a cancer diagnosis, many people want to make healthy lifestyle changes, such as eating better, exercising more, and finding better ways to manage stress. Although practicing healthy habits is important for everyone, it is especially important for cancer survivors because they can be at a higher risk for other health problems as a result of cancer treatment.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that a person can develop after experiencing or seeing a life-threatening or extremely frightening event. Although PTSD is often associated with situations such as war, weather-related disasters, sexual or physical attacks, and serious accidents, such as a plane crash, the disorder can also affect people with a history of cancer.
Anger is a common and normal response for a person living with cancer. A person with cancer may experience anger about the way the cancer diagnosis has disrupted his or her life, about the treatment and possible side effects, or about the way that family members and friends are reacting.
Many people living with or touched by cancer experience guilt—a feeling of blame and regret that can be difficult to acknowledge and express. Guilt often leads people to replay "what if" and "if only" scenarios in their thoughts, trying to determine what they could have done differently or how they can “right” a wrongdoing.
Publishing research studies is the primary way scientific professionals use to communicate their findings. They may publish original research or write a review article, which evaluates the existing body of published research on a particular topic. Well-designed research studies can help answer important questions about the biology of cancer, investigate new treatments, and identify areas for further study.
Doctors and scientists conduct research studies to discover more about the biology of cancer, investigate new treatments and diagnostic tests, and learn how to prevent the disease. Depending on the questions they want to answer, researchers can design these studies in a number of ways. No study design is perfect; each has strengths and drawbacks. Therefore, it is important to understand a study's design so you can evaluate the results and know if they apply to your situation.
While you are coping with the physical, emotional, and social challenges associated with a diagnosis of cancer, it can be easy to ignore other chronic (long-lasting) medical conditions you may have, such as diabetes or heart disease. However, the way you manage these conditions often influences the success of your cancer treatment plan
Today, many cancer drugs are available in pill form, which means patients can often take some of their treatment at home, rather than in a doctor's office or cancer center. This can provide such time-saving benefits as reduced travel and fewer doctor appointments. However, it also can be challenging for these patients to stay on the prescribed medication schedule for their at-home treatment plan.
Oncology nurses are an important part of the health care team and work in all areas of cancer care. Oncology nurses combine their scientific knowledge, technical skills, and caring to help people living with cancer and their families throughout the cancer journey—from diagnosis and treatment to survivorship and end-of-life care.