What is Time Toxicity?
- Time spent in doctor’s waiting rooms and in hospital beds is labeled as “time toxicity.” It’s the time burden of people going through cancer treatment.
- Doctors and researchers have started to assess time tradeoffs more closely when pursuing treatment plans for people diagnosed with cancer.
- While battling cancer, it’s important to try to focus on the good, stay positive, and do things that bring you joy.
Some people may feel like the majority of their time is spent in cancer treatment. If you’re able to reframe this thought, and look at the positives, that can help to make the journey easier.
Understanding “Time Toxicity”Read More
Some people diagnosed with cancer who are going through treatment may feel like treatment is like a full-time job and that it eats up your time. Everything from hours spent undergoing chemotherapy or hours spent at the hospital or with your doctor can feel like a drain to the system.
Doctors and researchers have started “to recognize the importance of assessing the time tradeoffs made when pursuing cancer treatment,” reports Psychology Today.
A study of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer who were undergoing treatment found that the people spent 10-20% of their remaining days commuting to, waiting for, or receiving treatment, reports the magazine. And that percentage doesn’t even account for time recovering from treatments or the time loss of missing time spent with family due to treatment appointments.
Staying Positive Through Cancer Treatment
Focusing on hope, and maintaining a positive attitude through a cancer battle can help.
Anecdotal evidence from SurvivorNet experts points to how a positive mindset can impact a cancer prognosis. Dr. Zuri Murrell of Cedars-Sinai tells SurvivorNet in an earlier interview, “My patients who thrive, even with stage 4 cancer, from the time that they, about a month after they’re diagnosed, I kind of am pretty good at seeing who is going to be OK. Now doesn’t that mean I’m good at saying that the cancer won’t grow,” he says.
“But I’m pretty good at telling what kind of patient are going to still have this attitude and probably going to live the longest, even with bad, bad disease. And those are patients who, they have gratitude in life.”
Caring For Your Mental Health During Cancer Battle
A cancer diagnosis – and the time spent navigating and treating it – may lead to grief, depression, and anxiety. A small percentage of people diagnosed with cancer (around 15%) experience clinical depression. Taking steps to feel better may include speaking with a therapist or taking anti-depressant medications.
While battling cancer, it’s important to try to focus on the good, stay positive, and do things that bring you joy to the degree you’re able to do so. Dr. Dana Chase, a Gynecologic Oncologist at Arizona Oncology, says in an earlier interview, “We know, actually from good studies, that emotional health, quality of life is associated with survival, meaning better quality of life is associated with better survival, better outcomes,” she said.
Dr. Chase recommended incorporating activities that bring joy into your day-to-day life. “So definitely, working on your emotional health, your physical well-being, your social environment, your emotional well-being, definitely working on those things and making them better are important and can impact your survival. If that’s related to what activities you do that bring you joy, then you should try to do more of those activities.”