Lost in transition after cancer

May 15, 2015

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News

The New York Times

“We like to think of the end of cancer treatment as the closing of a chapter, but what most people don’t realize is that the emotional struggle continues long after,” said Dr. Kevin C. Oeffinger, director of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s adult long-term follow-up program. After intensive treatment that sometimes lasts years, some cancer survivors feel disoriented and isolated, and may also experience confusion and guilt for not being as happy as they expected. Xeni Jardin, a cancer survivor who blogs about her experience, described her own panic attacks and bouts of debilitating depression. “And so I called my hospital, and I said: ‘Hey, I want to kill myself. I keep finding myself in these cycles of panic where I want to die, and I’m not sure why I bothered with treatment. I need help.’” Thanks to new treatments and early detection, more people are surviving cancer, and the number of support groups and after-treatment programs is growing to meet the unique mental health needs of this population.

Spark Extra! Read about an interesting British study on Physical Illness and Suicide Risk.