Cancer recurrence is a relapse of the disease even after one cycle of treatment is over, however as the entire treatment is completed and one is put into complete remission, the fear doesn’t seem to fade away. In fact, for some it could be emotionally and physically traumatic.
- Are you that person who is constantly living in fear of a cancer relapse?
- Do you know of someone who is living in fear?
- Do you have fear of the cancer relapsing with your spouse, sibling, parent or child?
Then here are a few things to keep in mind –
How does fear of cancer recurrence interfere in the recovery process?
Severe anxiety, fear, depression and all these negative emotions increases cortisol levels in your body inducing stress, which can be a causative factor for a relapse.
“We’ve got a thousand different diagnoses and diseases out there. They’re just the weak link. They’re all the result of one thing: stress. If you put enough stress on the chain and you put enough stress on the system, then one of the links breaks”– Dr Ben Johnson
Here are 5 tips to overcome the fear of cancer relapse
1. Know your symptoms
Cancer symptoms differ from an A-Z list depending on the cancer type. As you have already been through the journey, keep a check on the symptoms but it’s important not to overthink or over analyse every little symptom. If something doesn’t feel or look right and is persistent, get it checked out.
2. Counselling for the survivor and the family caregiver
Why is that the people in our country hesitate to consult a counsellor or psychologist to take care of their mental well-being? Talking to a professional does not mean you are crazy. It means that you are giving your mind the attention that it needs. It’s important to note that your mental well-being matters as much as your physical well-being, if not more.
CARER Program knows the power of mind-body healing therefore we have brought on board cancer counsellors. Dr. Sukanaya is not only a counsellor but a breast cancer survivor herself. Listen to what she has to say about dealing with the fear HERE.
Speaking about your fears to professionals would be the right solution, as they focus on the essential elements and provide you with methodical tools and processes of dealing with this fear of a cancer recurrence.
3. Shift the focus
Now it’s time to start focussing on quality of life and not quantity! You have been given a new lease on life. Many would love that chance and you got it. You need trust yourself and your body and believe that life is happening now, not yesterday nor tomorrow but right now in the moment. Do things you never had the chance to do before, take up a hobby, learn a new language, live your passion and live every moment with gratitude. This shifts your focus and attention to other things and makes you appreciate the present moment. An attitude of gratitude brings positivity and vibrancy into your life, which in turn heals you from inside out. Remember – “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
The cells in our bodies are constantly dividing, multiplying and replenishing. Fear induces stress and meditation calms the stress and kick starts your parasympathetic nervous system. Decreasing your heart rate, increasing digestion, circulation and re-building cells.
We at CARER Program cannot stop stressing on the power of meditation. This simple act is one of the most powerful and liberating healing modalities that you can indulge in. The common retaliation we hear is “I can’t sit for that long or I have too many thoughts”. Well guess what, even 5 minutes of meditation can have profound effects on your body and mind. In regards to your impeding thoughts, they are fine, allow them to come and go and just concentrate on your breathing. That’s all it is!
In fact we found meditation so important that now CARER is connecting you to a meditation trainer at your home, for free with the program. The trainer is there to teach you and help you tap into the magic of meditation. To know more about it click on CARER Program.
5. Joining online communities and cancer support groups
Connecting with people who have been through cancer will build confidence, hope and positive energy. There are cancer helplines who help you with all of these and can give you a list of groups next to you. CARER Program also provides access to online communities.
How do you decrease the chances of relapse?
Research study states that complementary therapies if advocated will decrease the chances of relapse. Following the right diet is vital for early recovery. CARER program has a nutritionist who assists you with personalized meal plans that suit you and abide by your medical records. Practicing mind-body therapies like yoga and meditation has immense effects on the speed of recovery, the way you feel and managing your stress, emotions and anxiety levels.