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Nov 13, 2023

In this episode, Dr. Jennifer Young Pierce discusses mental health and its impact on cancer patients. She emphasizes the importance of addressing mental health concerns and seeking help, as they can affect the overall quality of life and even survival. Dr. Pierce explains that mental health encompasses external factors (such as basic needs and purpose) and internal factors (such as anxiety and depression). She advises patients to assess their ability to engage in daily activities and seek help if they cannot. The oncology team is a good starting point for support, as they have expertise in the unique relationship between mental health and cancer. Dr. Pierce also highlights the connection between depression and pain, and the importance of treating both. Red flags to watch out for include missing appointments, excessive tearfulness or anxiety, and isolating oneself
Episode Takeaways 
1. Mental health underlies every aspect of our lives, including our energy, focus, decision-making and even our ability to get out of bed. It is crucial to address and prioritize mental health when facing a cancer diagnosis. 
2. Stress and anxiety are normal reactions to a cancer diagnosis. However, it's important to recognize when these feelings become overwhelming and hinder your ability to live your desired life. Don't hesitate to reach out for support and resources. 
3. Your oncology team should be the starting point for addressing mental health concerns. Oncologists and their team are well-versed in the unique challenges of balancing mental health and cancer, and can provide a comprehensive approach to support you through your journey. 

Show Overview

00:01:57 Mental health affects cancer survival, experience.
00:04:57 Navigators help cancer patients manage mental health.
00:06:42 Cancer center teams help navigate mental health.
00:11:33 Mental health in cancer treatment: Seek alternatives.
00:14:24 Cancer centers offer support programs for patients. Online groups and caregivers also have resources.
00:17:15 Depression and recurrence in cancer treatment.

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USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute
The Cancering Show is brought to you by USA Health Mitchell Cancer Institute. MCI is a cutting-edge cancer research and treatment center built to fight cancer smarter in Mobile and Baldwin counties in Alabama. Our researchers and clinicians focus daily on the struggle against cancer, serving a potential catchment population of more than 4.1 million people, with a singular focus of advancing cancer diagnosis, treatment, and prevention throughout the Gulf Coast and beyond with science, technology and hope.

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