Today, Psychologist, Catherine Waight, looks at the support required during the Recurrence and Terminal stages of Cancer and how to access additional support if needed.
Recurrence and Terminal Disease
People who reach this phase often have to cope with the change in prognosis and what that now means for their future. Common conflicts include coping with the idea of a rapid progression, reduced hope, contemplating death and how to broach with family and friends, grief and loss related to the loss of their future, physical deterioration and consequences (e.g. reduced mobility) and practical and medication considerations (i.e. decision to have the surgery or not). Death is a subject that many people with recurrent cancer often understandably struggle with. Psychologists are helpful in discussing grief and loss and helping the person come to terms with the meaning of death for them and their family
So for people diagnosed with cancer, who’s at a greater risk of developing mental health problems?
– People under the age of 55
– Socially isolated: i.e. Divorced, separated, widowed, lives alone
– Perceived lack of social support
– Low socio-economic status
– Relationship problems
– Psychiatric history
– Other life stressors
– Gender: female
– Disease factors: time of diagnosis, during advanced stages, poorer prognosis, greater treatment side effects (i.e. fatigue, chronic pain).
So I would like support from a psychologist, how do I receive a referral?
There are different steps you can take to obtain cancer support. I recommend talking to your GP who will discuss the most suitable options for you. Your GP may decide to complete a mental health assessment called a ‘Better Access Mental Health Care Plan’ so you are able to receive a rebate from Medicare for your psychology sessions. If your GP does decide to complete a mental health assessment with you, please be aware that you may have to book a secondary appointment as the mental health assessment involves lots of paper work and questions, so allow extra time.
Alternatively you can simply ring us here at The Psych Professionals to talk to us!
Additional Cancer Support Resources
- For further reading on World Cancer Day check out the webpage at:http://www.worldcancerday.org/
- Cancer Council Queensland. The Cancer Council has an abundance of helpful educational and practical resources for people living with cancer as well as their families, carers and children. You can order these resources to your door if you’re a local resident. I can recommend the ‘Learning to Relax’ CD which takes you through 10 tracks focusing on different relaxation and breathing methods. Please check out the Cancer Council Queensland webpage at: https://www.cancerqld.org.au/f/OrderBrochures/Public