Do You Require Additional Help?

Some individuals face an increased risk of severe distress, for instance, if they:

  • Had experienced major mental health problems such as depression in the past
  • Have other serious medical complications apart from cancer
  • Face communication problems (for instance hearing problems or a different language)
  • Are facing some kind of family or social problems
  • Are younger
  • Are living alone
  • Have young children to take care of at home
  • Have had experienced very high levels of stress (even before the diagnosis of cancer)
  • Have had a history of alcohol or drug abuse

If any of the above applies to you, there is an increased likelihood that you may require help from other people – referrals to the right people can be provided to you by the cancer care team.

You along with your cancer care team members may also realize that on certain occasions during the course of the disease and treatment, you face an increased risk of severe distress. Cancer has often been described as something similar to “being on a roller coaster”. Usually these occur at specific points of change during the course of the disease and its treatment:

  • Having a new symptom that looks suspicious
  • Changing treatment
  • Going home after being discharged from the hospital
  • Completing treatment
  • Going for follow-up-visits to your cancer doctor
  • The cancer recurs (comes back)
  • Treatment failure
  • The cancer worsens or reaches advanced stage
  • Advancing towards the end of life
  • Moving onto hospice care

In case you experience moderate to severe distress levels during these periods, you may require additional help.