Having Cancer Makes You Prone to PTSD, New Study Suggests

Older man with hands on his head

Scientists call for a more serious approach in diagnosing PTSD in cancer patients

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is not exclusive to war veterans nor does it affect select groups as a new study suggests. A Malaysian research paper has found that approximately one-fifth of patients with cancer experienced PTSD several months after they were diagnosed. More so, the disorder continued to affect these people years later.

The affliction is known to develop in individuals who were subjected to a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, witnessing death or being sexually assaulted among others.However, the disorder can also develop in cancer patients. The paper, which was published in the journal of the American Cancer Society, suggests that many patients feel like their emotional issues are a weakness after being diagnosed with cancer.

“Many cancer patients believe they need to adopt a ‘warrior mentality’, and remain positive and optimistic from diagnosis through treatment to stand a better chance of beating cancer.” Said Dr. Caryn Mei Hsien Chan, the study’s lead author.

The research team tested 469 patients with various types of cancer. These patients were tested for PTSD after six months and then again after four years they’d been diagnosed. After six months, 21 percent of the patients had PTSD dropping to 6 percent after four years.

Patients with breast cancer were 3.7 times less likely to develop PTSD after six months. This is due to dedicated programs that provide support and counseling to breast cancer patients within the first year of diagnosis.

Dr. Chan also said many cancer survivors expect the disease to come back, essentially instilling in them a sense of paranoia and overall fear. She then stressed for greater PTSD awareness and proper counseling at the initial stages of cancer.

“psychological well-being and mental health- and by extension, quality of life- are just as important as physical health” stated Dr. Chan.

Image Source: WikipediaCommons

The following two tabs change content below.

Roxanne Briean

I am a geek, a gamer and a writer. I have always been fascinated with the online community. At the moment I work as a full-time writer and study interior design. When I'm not scouring the net in search of interesting new gadgets and software I spend my time in MOBAs or drawing.