people who have cancer become depressed. Symptoms of depression
are varied. You may have felt this way for a week or more. You
may not be able to cope with your daily activities or your
cancer. You may be feeling at least one of the following:
- Not worth anything
- Low in spirits
- Not enough sleep
- Less appetite
- Loss of pleasure in life
- Wanting to be left alone
- Sadness, crying
- Sleeping too much
- More appetite
- Negative thoughts
- Increase danger
- Feeling no good
- Self-blame or self-criticism (I can’t do
- Death thoughts
Some of these symptoms are because of your
cancer and its treatment, but you may also be depressed.
Many things can contribute to the development
of depression. These include family history, many losses, many
types of medications, and stress.
Learning Needs You
and your loved ones need to know:
- How to recognize depression
- Why depression may be happening to you
- Things you can do to help yourself
Ask yourself the following questions:
1. Have you felt ‘‘low’’ for more than
2. Have you felt grouchier than normal?
3. Have you reacted more strongly to
situations or not reacted at all?
4. Have you cried a lot?
5. Have you had difficulty concentrating or
sticking to tasks?
6. Do your loved ones think you are behaving
7. Have you had chronic pain that is not
relieved by medication?
Management You can
do the following to deal with depression:
- Make a list of all the medications you
take. Show this to your doctor or nurse. Some medicines may
have to be stopped.
- Ask your doctor or nurse what side effects
can be caused by the cancer and its treatment. Learn as much
as you can to help to manage those side effects.
- Ask your doctor or nurse for help managing
the side effects.
- Get plenty of rest, and exercise when you
feel you have the energy.
- Eat a balanced diet. Do not try to lose
weight at this time. Foods should be good for you and have
lots of nutrition. Ask your nurse or dietitian for help if
you are having problems with eating.
- You are not alone. Depression in cancer is
common. It does not mean you are weak. Talk about how you
are feeling with your doctor or nurse.
- Avoid alcohol. It can make you depressed.
- If medications have been ordered for you
for depression, take them as directed. Let your doctor or
nurse know of any side effects you may be experiencing.
1. As your depression goes away, you should
- Better sleep patterns
- A decrease in grouchiness
- Better focus on tasks
- Ability to withstand stresses without
- Ability to think positively
- An improvement in mood
- Enjoyment in living
2. Treatment of depression is not quick. It
may take weeks to months to notice improvement. Continue to take
3. Depression may come back. But knowing what
it feels like, you will be able to recognize it.