Anxiety, Fear, and Depression

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When to call the doctor

Going through a wide range of emotions is a normal part of coping with cancer. But some things should not be ignored. If the patient or someone close to them has any of these problems, please call the doctor right away:

  • Has thoughts or plans of suicide (or of hurting himself or herself)
  • Is unable to eat or sleep
  • Lacks interest in usual activities for many days
  • Is unable to find pleasure in things they’ve enjoyed in the past
  • Has emotions that interfere with daily activities and last more than a few days
  • Is confused
  • Has trouble breathing
  • Is sweating more than usual
  • Is very restless
  • Has new or unusual symptoms that cause concern

There’s no doubt that cancer changes people’s lives. The emotional stress it causes can be overwhelming, but no one has to manage it alone. The patient’s health care team may seem focused on his or her physical health, but they care about their patients’ emotional health, too. Keep them involved in and aware of what the patient is feeling and doing. Learn about and use the resources available. Coping with cancer is stressful, but no one has to do it alone.


Last Medical Review: 09/20/2013
Last Revised: 09/20/2013