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publicado em 16/10/2011 às 12h00:00
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Many cancer survivors struggle with symptoms of posttraumatic stress

Cancer diagnosis can leave lasting psychological scars similar to those caused by war

 
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More than a decade after receiving the news that they were ill, about 4 in 10 cancer survivors said they were troubled by the symptoms of post-traumatic stress, said Sophia Smith, the Duke Cancer Institute, Durham, USA .

The symptoms included being super busy, have disturbing thoughts about cancer and its treatment or feeling emotionally numb to friends and family.

One in ten patients also said they avoid thinking about their cancer and one in twenty said they avoided situations or activities that remind them of the disease, a situation that can become a medical problem.

"Do you care if the patient is avoiding medical care, you care about the fact that they may not be getting up. We have no data to support this, but we worry about it," Smith told Reuters Health.

The study is based on a survey of 566 patients with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a relatively common type of cancer.

Smith's team had researched these patients for symptoms of the disorder post-traumatic stress once before, estimating that about 1 in every 12 of them had fully developed form of the disorder. The diagnosis involved a trio of symptoms, including excitement, escape, and flashbacks.

Many more had one or more symptoms of the disorder post-traumatic stress, however. The latest survey also showed that many cases remain.

Overall, half of the patients had any symptoms of the disorder post-traumatic stress within 13 years after diagnosis. The problems disappeared in 12%, but remained or worsened in 37%.

"This study found that people seemed to have a disorder of post-traumatic stress worse after. It is very stressful for people to be told they have cancer. You can not just pretend that they feel bad now, but that will pass," said Bonnie Green, a trauma specialist at the University of Georgetown who pioneered the study of post-traumatic stress in survivors of breast cancer.

It is noted that only a minority of patients who develop the strongest form of the disorder post-traumatic stress, but added that depression is common after a cancer diagnosis.

The new research shows that poor people are super vulnerable to the psychological impact of being diagnosed with cancer.

"I am particularly concerned about patients who are poor or who have fewer resources. At each visit we ask patients not only feel pain, but if they are having stress," said Smith, adding that doctors have to be better to recognize anxiety in patients.

Source: Isaude.net
   Palavras-chave:   Cancer    Stress disorder    Posttraumatic stress    Trauma    Diagnosis   
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