Post traumatic stress (PTSD) and cancer

Friday 11 May 2018

You may have seen a news item recently about Post Traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD) and cancer.   Many people think that PTSD is limited to people who have been in warzones, however, it can develop after exposure to any traumatic experience, including after a diagnosis of cancer, and also after supporting someone else with cancer.

Symptoms of PTSD may not be apparent until months or even years after diagnosis, indeed a  Malaysian study reported on the BBC news suggests a fifth of people with cancer will have PTSD and a third of these will have continuing or worsening symptoms 4 years on.

Common symptoms of PTSD include feeling on red alert, having flashbacks, low mood, anger, numbed emotions, feeling tearful, not connecting with others around you , amongst many others,  each person who has PTSD may have a different mix of emotional and also physical symptoms such as pains, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, forgetfulness......

At Maggie's we recognise that support is often needed long after treatment has finished, If you are struggling to find that new normal  following treatment , or after caring for someone else with cancer, you are welcome to drop into any of our Centres or to join the conversations here at Maggie's Online to talk things over and help you to find the support you need.

Best wishes


BBC article: Some cancer patients have PTSD years after diagnosis, study finds 

This blog was originally  written by Robyn Nov 2017 - Updated April 2020

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