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Tag Archives: Cancer

Depression & Anxiety

anxietyWhy do I feel this bad when I should be feeling better?

by Anne Katz PhD, RN

It is well established that depression is a common experience for those with cancer. Depression rates among survivors are two to five times greater than the general population; it has been suggested that as many as 38% of cancer survivors experience depression [Boyajian 2010]. Survivors experiencing depression may experience poorer quality of life than non-depressed survivors as well as higher rates of cancer progression and even death [Pirl, 2009]. Anxiety is also acknowledged as a significant problem and is often associated specifically with fear of recurrence that can persist for years after diagnosis (Glaser et al., 2013).

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Survivorship Series: When do you stop thinking about the cancer?

annekatzby Anne Katz, PhD, RN 

This Monthly Survivorship Series, written by CKN Survivorship Editor, Anne Katz, is provided by CKN with permission from ONS.  We hope this series will become a useful resource that will help to facilitate dialogue between cancer patients, their loved ones and their physicians with a view towards improving the quality of life for cancer survivors.  

I had an inter­est­ing con­ver­sa­tion with a 20+ year can­cer sur­vivor the other day. She had called me on some other busi­ness (a job ref­er­ence for a col­league of mine) and she men­tioned that she knew of my work in sex­u­al­ity. She then told me that she had been treated for breast can­cer 20 years ago.  “Ahh, ” I said, wait­ing to hear where the con­ver­sa­tion would go.  I thought that per­haps she would tell me her story, or ask advice about a sex­ual issue (yes, per­fect strangers will ask about that in all sorts of places), but instead she said in a firm voice:

“Why do peo­ple with can­cer hang on to their can­cer expe­ri­ence for so long?”

I really didn’t have an answer and the ques­tion was really rhetor­i­cal. She explained that while her can­cer had changed her for­ever, she refused to be defined by it. It was in the past, not for­got­ten, but not some­thing that was cen­tral to her every­day life.

Not every­one has that atti­tude, and there really is no right or wrong in this. I have noticed the same men present when I speak at a local prostate can­cer sup­port group. Every year, there they are. Some were treated more than 15 years ago and still they attend the sup­port group. Is it because they come to hear me? Or do they attend to pro­vide sup­port to newly diag­nosed men? Or is it a social out­ing for them?

When does the can­cer expe­ri­ence no longer define a person’s life? What do you think?

Read Anne’s last post here.


Depression: It’s Not the End



depression 1by Jennifer Luce, CKN Living with Cancer Editor & Cancer Survivor

When I was thirteen I had overwhelming periods of sadness that I chalked up to teenage angst. When it followed me around like a dark cloud through my early twenties and other things in life became too much, the feeling that my life wasn’t worth it interfered with my ability to enjoy what the world had to offer.


People were always there to offer words of support but the feelings of loneliness wouldn’t pass. I reached out to search for ways to handle it all, but it was never good enough. Only when I was introduced to a counsellor and psychologist, did my ability to talk it out and fill up my virtual toolbox, begin to wane the ebb and flow of pain.

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A Primer on Fertility Law in Canada for Cancer Survivors


by Sara Cohen, Lawyer

Cancer can take away so many dreams and plans you had for the future.  It doesn’t have to take away your ability to build your family.





Cancer Patients

With the pain and fear that accompanies a cancer diagnosis; your future fertility may not be at the forefront of your mind.  However, with modern medical technologies, depending on your circumstances, there may be steps that you can take to preserve and protect your fertility prior to or during your cancer treatment.   Your oncologist can assist in determining whether this is an option for you.

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Mindfulness-based stress reduction for breast cancer—a systematic review and meta-analysis

Comments by Jill Shainhouse, ND Fabno, CKN Editor

Read the Current Oncology article here

A breast cancer patient may experience significant amounts of stress at any given stage of the process after initial diagnosis. Stress, anxiety and depression can also worsen during their treatment as well as in the survivorship phase.   It is essential for patients to get the appropriate care in managing and improving their mental and emotional well-being.  In practice, there are usually two types of patients:  1) The patient that wants a pharmaceutical intervention to help reduce negative or anxious feelings and 2) The patient that wants a more “holistic” approach in healing the mind via a variety of techniques.  These may include yoga, meditation, and improving the mind-body connection.


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