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What is spiritual support?

Relieving symptoms and side effects is an important part of treatment called palliative care or supportive care. Spiritual support is a type of palliative care. It can help with some concerns and questions you and your loved ones have during cancer and treatment.


What is the association between breast cancer and depression?

Discovering a disease is never easy. In the case of breast cancer, for many patients, the psychological impact can trigger depression. The occurrence of depression in these cases is common, although it is not frequently diagnosed. "It is a challenge to differentiate what characterizes an installed depression picture from a 'normal' sadness, as it is one thing for a person to be sad and downcast and trying to overcome, and another is the more lasting and persistent depression (sadness and apathy)",

To better understand how depression is characterized, it is important to know that it generates spontaneous biological and psychological symptoms, apparently disproportionate in intensity and duration to the events that caused them. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM – V), depression is characterized as having at least five or more of the following symptoms persistent for more than two weeks:

- Depressed mood most days;

- Weight loss or gain without being on a diet;

- Increased or decreased appetite;

- Insomnia or other sleep disorders;

- Fatigue and energy loss;

- Feeling of uselessness or excessive or inadequate guilt;

- Impaired ability to think or concentrate or indecision;

- Concern about death and suicidal ideation;

- Difficulty concentrating;

- Crying fits.

There are different types of treatment for depression, which help to mitigate the effects of the disease, including in cancer patients. The main treatment possibilities are:

- Medicines (usually antidepressants);

- Psychoeducation (joint discussion about side effects and treatment expectations);

- Psychotherapy from diagnosis, as depression control helps cancer patients manage the disease better;

- The main objective of therapy is to awaken in the patient the coping with the disease and the development of problem solving skills;

- The techniques of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy are indicated;

- Support groups show good results for cancer patients who present with depression.

The support of close people and some activities can also be essential to complement the treatment.

- Physical activity is essential, as this practice facilitates the release of hormones that increase the feeling of well-being and disposition;

- Psychotherapy to help recover self-esteem;

- Family and friends support are essential at this time;

- If possible, continue with professional life;

- Dance, art therapy and recreational activities are allied in this process;

- Eating as healthy as possible.







How to get emotionally stronger for cancer treatment?

When a serious illness such as cancer affects someone's health, changes in routine, body and future plans cause a lot of emotional discomfort for the patient and also for those close to him. It is not simple to deal with situations such as exam reports, for example, in which the reading of the results made by a layperson can generate anxiety, until the day of the next medical appointment, for clarification.

The feelings of anguish and sadness can permeate many stages, from the real understanding of the diagnosis, to the countless doubts about the pre- and postoperative period, the effects of chemotherapy, such as hair loss or fatigue resulting from radiotherapy sessions. It is normal to feel fear in the face of these unfamiliar situations, and to have frequent thoughts about the prospects for the future. However, the person who is facing the disease, their family and friends should be aware of some signs that can characterize emotional disturbances and reveal the need for professional support.

Sad or depressed mood most of the day most days for at least two consecutive weeks;

Loss of interest or enjoyment in daily activities for at least two weeks;

Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal idea (with or without a plan), suicide attempt;

Feelings of worthlessness or excessive/inappropriate guilt.

Emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression weaken those who are already undergoing aggressive therapies, so some people are afraid to use anxiolytics and antidepressants. They think about side effects such as the possibility of gaining weight and decreased libido, interference with drugs used to fight cancer, dependence and duration.

In general, antidepressants are used for a certain period, depending on each case, and their discontinuation must be followed up. There are different alternatives and indications, an open dialogue with psychologists and psychiatrists and the supervision of the oncologist who is conducting the treatment can bring well-being, comfort and strength to those who experience this roller coaster of emotions.

Those who seek treatment and restore emotional health can have a better relationship with the family, choose new activities and habits that generate satisfaction, such as dancing, doing volunteer work and rediscovering themselves. After all, a new outlook on life and positive attitudes are real rewards for those who have overcome cancer. Talk to doctors, read about the subject and learn about winning stories too

What is psycho-oncology?

It is an area of intersection between Psychology and Oncology, which seeks to understand and study the behavioral variables related to the illness and cure process, and the interventions throughout this same process.

The role of a psychologist in an Oncology outpatient clinic is to provide emotional support so that the patient can express their feelings, understand the difficulties of the moment they are experiencing, perceive the situations that emotionally mobilize them and equip them to deal in the best possible way with the changes and limitations imposed by disease and treatment. Psychological follow-up is generally indicated when we notice a certain difficulty in adapting and complying with the proposed treatments and when depressive and/or anxiety symptoms occur.

Another important point to be highlighted is the cancer patient's family. As it is a complex disease, the family member is usually very involved in the treatment process, both from an operational and an emotional point of view; and it is up to the health team to take a careful look at this family throughout the patient's treatment period. The psycho-oncologist can approach the patient and his family, either individually or in a group, depending on some clinical and institutional aspects.

Finally, it is also the role of the psycho-oncologist to provide emotional support and support to health professionals who deal daily and intensely with cancer patients. Some institutional actions, such as support groups, workshops and classes, are examples of care actions for the professional.

The cancer experience is often challenging, regardless of location, extent, prognosis, and treatment outcomes. All these changes in the patient's routine can contribute to his psychological imbalance and trigger various emotional reactions. For these reasons, psychological treatment provides invaluable help in coping with cancer treatment

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Sorocaba Medical Center


Rua Sorocaba, 464 - room 202

Tel. 21 2537-0138 / 2539-5093

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Americas Medical City

Barra da Tijuca

Av. Jorge Curi, 550 - rooms 252/253

Tel. 21 3264-4866 / 3264-4863

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