Coping with Cancer Pain
Can a Psychologist Help Treat Cancer Pain?
Cancer can stir up a roller coaster of emotions. Add cancer pain to the mix, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed. You may feel that you’re alone, or you might feel hopeless.
Your doctor or another member of your cancer treatment team may recommend you visit a mental health professional to cope with all of your emotions. Rest assured, seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist often plays a part in an overall cancer treatment plan to ensure your mental and emotional well-being are being fully addressed.
But what’s so helpful about seeing a psychologist when you have cancer pain? For starters, a mental health professional can help you learn coping techniques for dealing with the pain.
Mental health professionals can also help you get a better handle on dealing with all aspects of your cancer, especially because cancer can impact your life in several ways. The cancer (and the pain) can affect your work, your relationships, and your self-esteem. But these emotions don’t have to rule your life.
It’s not your fault that you have cancer or cancer pain, and you’re not “crazy” for feeling sad, anxious, or lonely. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your mental and emotional health when you have cancer—in fact, it’s just as important as paying attention to your physical health.
How to Find a Psychologist Who Treats Cancer Pain
Mental health professionals who treat cancer pain include mental health counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. You can search for a psychologist in your area on our site.
Once you find a mental health professional you feel comfortable with (you can also ask family members or friends for recommendations), you can talk about your experience with cancer pain—how it makes you feel as well as how to cope with it. Your psychologist may also suggest a type of therapy, such as meditation, imagery or hypnosis, that he or she thinks you’ll benefit from.
How often you need to visit your psychologist depends. Some people benefit from seeing a psychologist throughout the duration of cancer, while others may want to continue their visits with the psychologist even after the cancer pain (and the cancer) is gone.
Emotional Wellness with Cancer and Cancer Pain
In addition to seeing a psychologist, you can do other things to maintain your overall health. Joining a cancer support group and jotting down your feelings in a journal are examples of things that can help you cope with your emotions.
Getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a healthy diet are also important ways to help you maintain mental and emotional well-being with cancer.