Seeking Support Looks Different For Each Patient
- While some people with cancer feel very comfortable talking about their diagnosis, others want to keep in private — and both are valid approaches.
- Psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik stresses that there is no one right way to seek support when dealing with a diagnosis, as it comes down to personal preference.
- She encourages those close to a person going through cancer to be respectful of their wishes when it comes to how they are comfortable seeking support.
Plenty of people who have undergone cancer treatment will tell you that openly discussing their condition has eased some of the stress associated with it, but this doesn’t work for everyone. Because cancer treatment is not a one size fits all approach, and it affects everyone different mentally
, not everyone feels comfortable sharing what they are going through with others in social situations.
Some people want to share their experiences as much as they can and others don’t want to tell anyone. Both of these approaches, and everything in between (maybe you only want to tell a few close friends about your diagnosis), are valid. Read More
“Patients who have just been diagnosed with cancer sometimes wonder how they are going to handle the diagnosis of the cancer in social situations,” psychiatrist Dr. Lori Plutchik explains. “How much information they should share and with whom they should share the information … everybody is different.” Dr. Plutchik explains that some share the information widely, with family, friends, and beyond — and feel comfortable doing so. “Other people are much more private about it,” she says, “And there is no one right way to handle this diagnosis. “People should do what feels right to them. Going through a cancer diagnosis, through treatment, is often a very long process. And then if you also include after treatment ends where a person is in a kind of state of limbo, waiting to see if they are clear and get their scans. It may be three months or six months into the future. People are still dealing with uncertainty at that point.”
Dr. Plutchik stresses that those close to a person going through cancer should be respectful of their wishes when it comes to disclosing their diagnosis and seeking support.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
- What can I do if I am uncomfortable talking about my diagnosis?
- If I feel that I need support beyond friends and loved ones, what are my options?
- What can I do if I feel anxiety around my diagnosis?
- How much do I need to disclose to my place of employment?
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Dr. Lori Plutchik is a New York-based board certified psychiatrist. Read More