Feeling sad or helpless is normal when facing cancer. Some medicines such as steroids (prednisone) can add to these feelings. Depression involves feelings of hopelessness or despair that don't go away. These feelings may interfere with activities and relationships. Other symptoms of depression can include loss of appetite, changes in sleep patterns, lack of energy, and inability to focus. If you have had symptoms of depression or have been on antidepressants before in your life, be sure to tell your doctor, nurse, or social worker.
Important signs and symptoms to report to your doctor or nurse:
- Experiencing feelings that interfere with your ability to care for yourself
- Feeling sad most of the time for several days
- Having mood swings that you cannot control
- Thinking about hurting yourself
What you can do at home:
- Allow yourself to feel sad at times.
- Get help when needed. Ask the doctor or nurse to refer you to a social worker who can help treat your depression.
- Talk about your feelings with someone who listens (family, friends, or a volunteer).
- Talk to spiritual advisors from your church and community.
- Talk with your health care provider about acupuncture as a way to manage related symptoms such as insomnia and distress. Watch our video or call or visit HCI's Wellness-Survivorship Center for more information about this treatment.
- Talk with other patients in your situation (support groups, phone contacts, or Internet chat rooms).
- Patient and Family Support Services
- Distress Patient Education
- Interactive Distress Screening Tool
- Communicating When a Loved One Is Ill
- Grief Due to Loss of Health
- Helping Kids Cope When a Loved One Has Cancer
- Wellness-Survivorship Center
- Support Groups
- Cancer Learning Center
- Find more patient education materials here