Symptoms And Treatment Of Cancer

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Introduction Receiving a potentially life-threatening diagnosis, such as cancer, has the potential to be an extremely stressful event and may have long-term effects. Depending on the diagnosis, many cancer patients may experience long-lasting, or chronic stress due to a variety of factors including receiving treatment, experiencing symptoms and side effects of treatment, waiting for test results, and learning that the cancer has recurred. Patients with cancer often report cancer-related posttraumatic stress (National Cancer Institute, 2012). According to the National Cancer Institute, patients who report cancer-related posttraumatic stress often experience repeated frightening thoughts, trouble sleeping, feeling detached from reality, fear, and helplessness (2012). Unfortunately, this stress negatively impacts immune functioning and can lead to tumor progression and metastasis (Hassan et al., 2013). If a cancer diagnosis is stressful, and evidence supports a negative impact of stress on cancer prognosis and recovery, then reducing the stress experienced by cancer patients will lead to better outcomes. Previous research identified social support as a major predictor of reduced stress levels in individuals with cancer (National Cancer Institute, 2012). Social support promotes psychological well-being and posttraumatic growth, a sharp contrast to posttraumatic stress. Posttraumatic growth is defined as the positive psychological change experienced after a highly challenging

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