Emotional Health and Childhood Cancer Outcomes

Emotional Health and Childhood Cancer Outcomes

Thanks to advances in treatments 84% of children with cancer are now surviving five or more years according to the American Cancer Society. This is a large increase coming from 58% just a few decades ago. Many forms of varied types of childhood cancers have now gone from being a death sentence to a curable disease. 

So what exactly are some of the emotional effects of childhood cancer? 
Stress begins at the time of diagnosis. Families get an overwhelming amount of information, from understanding the disease, to medical terminology. A family’s cycle gets rearranged trying to get used to the “new normal.” 

Some of the symptoms there may be an underlying mental health issue are:
Changes in weight.
Changes in appetite.
Easily crying.
Low energy.
Feeling hopeless.
Increased irritability.
Increased worry or anxiety.
Feeling fearful, upset, or angry, when thinking about cancer.

Risk Levels
You may be wondering, “Is my child at risk for an emotional health illness?” while we hope that is not the case, there is always a possibility of this being a problem or one of the “late effects.” Some people are at higher risk than others for having an emotional health problem, and they are as follows:

Being female.
Being a teenager.
Having other traumas.
Having mental health issues prior to having cancer.
Having learning issues prior to cancer.
Having low levels of social support.
Having a family genetic history of depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues.

Helping the Outcome
You may also be wondering, “what can I do to help?” Survivors tend to find support by joining other survivor groups. Some people find help by going to their place of worship, or calling on their sense of spirituality, others by simply relying on family and friends. Clinical treatments may also help too, options can go anywhere from a group therapy session, to family session, and even one-on-one sessions. 

Anxiousness in Childhood Cancer Survivors
While surviving cancer is generally something to celebrate, your child may not have the same feelings as you. What can you do about it? There are many organizations that specialize in the effects of childhood cancer, and for several good reasons too. It’s quite common for children to experience a mental health issue after being treated, or even during the process.

Author’s Bio

Blanca Harris, enjoys spending time with her family, plants, animals. She has two dogs and a turtle whom she loves dearly.  She spends most of her time reading and gardening. She also enjoys writing on her free time.

References:
CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. (2017, October 24). Emotional Health After Childhood Cancer | CureSearch. https://curesearch.org/Emotional-HealthMarusak, H. (2018, July 24). Understanding the Psychological Effects of Childhood Cancer. Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/understanding-the-psychological-effects-of-childhood-cancer1/Understanding Emotional Health and Childhood Cancer | Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey. (n.d.). Cinj.Org/. https://cinj.org/understanding-emotional-health-and-childhood-cancer

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