THE ‘FEAR RESPONSE’ – PARALYZING CLEAR DECISION MAKING IN THE WAKE OF A CANCER DIAGNOSIS!!

“Knowledge is the most powerful weapon in overcoming fear”

Sadness, worry or fear are natural emotions during the cancer journey and in some circumstances, the instantaneous triggering of the ‘flight response’ in fearful situations can be life-saving.  However, in situations where cognitive processing is desired, and needed, the presence of fear is counter-productive.  

Fear is often a dominant driver for patients in their health decision-making process with literature showing that certain decisions made from a position of fear and anxiety are ‘less optimal’ than those made in a state of calm.  This can mean that emotions such as fear, trigger actions, thus sacrificing cognitive processing for speed.

“Ask questions! Do your research! Select a medical team that inspires confidence and comfort”

Cancer decisions often involve concepts that are hard to grasp, such as health risks and probabilities, technical medical information that is unfamiliar to most patients, and a multiplicity of options that can be overwhelming, especially in the context of emotions, such as fear.

“Cancer-Related Decisions are Complex and Can Benefit from Decision Support”

Support is provided in a number of ways to assist patients diagnosed with cancer, to better understand their individual treatment options and help patients communicate with their health care team.  Counselling support is generally offered at diagnosis along with access to an oncology social worker, or in some countries, a ‘Cancer Coach‘, who can all provide valuable information along with emotional support.  Linking in with a Cancer Support group can also provide a safe place to share experiences with others who are dealing with cancer.

“Don’t try to get rid of it. Welcome it. Embrace it. Fear holds no power over who you truly are!!”

https://www.wakeupcloud.com/overcoming-fear/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/Pages/overcoming-fears.aspx

(IDM; Rimer, Briss, Zeller, Chan, & Woolf, 2004)

https://www.livestrong.org/we-can-help/just-diagnosed/your-emotions-after-cancer-diagnosis

https://www.canceradvocacy.org/resources/cancer-survival-toolbox/basic-skills/making-decisions/

http://www.curetoday.com/community/barbara-chernow/2016/03/due-diligence-rising-above-the-fear-of-cancer#sthash.htwDIFR1.dpuf

http://blog.centerforinnovation.mayo.edu/2016/02/24/time-to-decouple-fear-and-health/

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