The Simms/Mann - UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology is part of UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center and UCLA Oncology. To find out more about research opportunities and medical oncology care, please visit these sites.
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Stress

stressMany patients feel a stress response when they confront situations that are reminders of their cancer treatment.  This happens more frequently than you might think.  Sometimes that stress response feels like “butterflies” in your stomach, anxiety, worry, sadness, heart pounding or a desire to just avoid everything medical.  You may be experiencing some symptoms that are called post-traumatic stress disorder.  Usually you need a variety of symptoms in three different categories to receive such a diagnosis, however, there is a growing body of literature that indicates that people who have been treated for cancer often develop some of these symptoms.  There is a wide range depending on the study, but as many as 80% of patients may have some of these symptoms.  It is important to seek some assistance from an oncology social worker or health psychologist to assess the severity of the difficulties.  Cognitive behavioral therapeutic interventions can be very helpful in allowing you to reframe the experience and develop coping strategies.  It is very important that these symptoms do not deter you from seeking your follow-up care.   If you begin avoiding, then you need to seek treatment from a qualified behavioral health psychologist immediately.   Learning relaxation or meditation techniques can be helpful for some people who are then able to employ those techniques when they come to medical appointments.  Just remember, you are not alone, and that interventions may be helpful to you so that you do not feel so overwhelmed and upset.  Sometimes the more traumatic your cancer treatment was for you, the more likely you are to develop these difficulties.  We recognize that optimizing your post treatment wellness includes attention to your psychological well-being in addition to your physical well-being. 

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