Home Health & Wellness From Fear to Empowerment: A Psychological Perspective on Cervical Cancer

From Fear to Empowerment: A Psychological Perspective on Cervical Cancer

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A cancer diagnosis may impact your psychological well-being because it’s hard to come to terms with an incredibly unsettling life experience. Yet, there aren’t right or wrong emotions or states of being.   

Allowing these emotions to flow through you is okay, but it’s also essential to release them.   

Below, you’ll be able to learn about the common fears and anxieties that are typical to experience.  

Plus, helpful information, which includes the Lletz procedure, early-stage treatment, the understanding of how to practice relaxation and optimistic thinking to supportive communities and resources available to women during this time 

Understanding fear and anxiety surrounding cervical cancer  

Any common fears and anxieties you may encounter when diagnosed with cervical cancer are entirely normal.   

Anxiety can cause panic, especially when it’s time to take the steps for treatments. Some thoughts make you question what is going to happen or its impact on your loved ones. Other psychological concerns that might come up are the effects of the treatments on a woman’s body, such as fertility issues or issues during pregnancy.   

Some of the emotions that you might feel are:   

  • Shock  
  • Numbness 
  • Anger  
  • Frightened  
  • Anxious  

All these emotions are normal, and the intensity varies per person. Some emotions are felt less frequently after an individual has adjusted to their diagnose. Other individuals may require further assistance and support, which is just as okay.   

These feelings may be more severe if you have a mental health problem, and it can also worsen the symptoms of your mental health condition.   

You should notify your medical team if you have any mental health cases because they can discuss any options they can provide.   

Also, inform your mental health team that you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. If you’ve previously received information from them, review it again. Reminding yourself of what has previously worked for you can be beneficial.   

Adopting relaxation and positive thinking techniques 

Following a cancer diagnosis, individuals respond differently and have unique coping methods.  

Living with a cancer diagnosis can be difficult since you face uncertainty and fear. It’s no surprise that worry and panic are common reactions to cancer, but the role of positive thinking and managing your anxiety can be life changing.   

Experiment the various techniques of coping and find what would work best for you and your mental health.  

Learn about cervical cancer 

We tend to be fearful of things we don’t understand. Learning about your cancer, its treatment, and possible side effects may help you feel less anxious. Many individuals find that the more they know about their cancer, the more in control and confident they feel.   

Knowing the facts can assist in dealing with negative stories, myths, and misunderstandings. Not everything that’s occurred to one person may happen to you. Your treatment team is best equipped to clarify what is to be expected.   

For instance, if the cancer is detected early, then the cells are precancerous and more likely to be treatable or removed. There are a couple of treatments that can be performed but the most commonly used is the LLETZ procedure, also known as the Large Loop Excision of the Transformation Zone. 

The LLETZ procedure is used as a therapy for women with high-grade precancerous cervix cancer. It helps prevent the affected cells from becoming cancer and spreading. The procedure removes the precancerous cells and can heal the patient without removing the womb.   

This is why going to the recommended screenings is important because it can detect any problems early on. It is healthy for you mentally and for your body.  

Discuss it  

Discussing your fears and anxieties may be effective. When you share your feelings rather than bottling them up, you can see your problem more clearly and develop a new way of coping. Talk with someone you are comfortable with, such as a family member or a friend.   

Even a doctor, nurse, social worker, or spiritual advisor may be able to give advice. We highly encourage you to look for a professional psychologist and/or ask your physician to make a referral for you.   

Relaxation techniques  

  • Be mindful/meditate. Take a moment to be calm and comfortable and have a quiet space. Learning to quiet your mind may help you think more clearly and feel more peaceful. Awareness can help lessen anxiety, tension, and worry while improving control and tranquillity. 
  • Breathing exercises. As you practice your mindfulness, it’s also good to have reminders to take deep breaths. There are also exercises to learn that go hand in hand with mindfulness.   

Physical health  

Remember that eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, and exercising can improve your mental health. Your healthcare providers can suggest a balanced diet and advise you on the intensity of the exercises you can do.   

Some mindful exercises can be:  

  • T’ai chi. An ancient Chinese art of moving meditation that creates stability in the body and a sense of physical control, stillness, and balance in the mind.    
  • Yoga. There are various forms of yoga with intensity levels, but after finding the one for you, it involves performing poses with the body, slowing and deepening the breath, and focusing the mind. 
  • Walking. The simplicity of walking can be very mindful. Whether you listen to music or quiet your mind to walk your thoughts off, it can help physically and mentally.

Empowerment through support  

A woman needs to have the correct education and support about cervical cancer and the treatments available to them.   

Most of the time, your healthcare provider will have pamphlets or options available. Still, organisations like Cancer Research UK can provide high-quality information and resources if more information is needed. It is the largest cancer research organisation in the world outside the United States. They fund research on all aspects of cancer, from its causes to prevention and treatments. They have a website with nurses on a freephone helpline, available from Monday to Friday, 9am–5pm.  

Resources that you may want to look for can be: 

  • Online communities. Besides finding websites, there can be discussion forums or groups on Facebook where a group of women is experiencing similar situations.    
  • Support groups. Whether in person or online, meeting people with knowledge or experience may help cope.   
  • Counselling. A professional psychologist can help to keep you in the right direction with your mental health during your journey.   

Final thoughts

Addressing the psychological effects of cervical cancer on women is a must. Understanding the emotional toll of these issues is essential since they can significantly impact a woman’s well-being and quality of life. Women can strengthen their resilience and empower themselves to overcome problems with greater courage by obtaining the correct assistance and developing a positive mindset throughout the treatment experience.

Ellen Diamond, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.

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