AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) –Texas Oncology released survey results on cancer, body image and mental health.
According to Texas Oncology, the purpose of the survey was to raise awareness of the way cancer impacts body image and mental health. While encouraging conversation that brings understanding to the overall health of cancer patients.
“We polled patients with current cancers or previous cancers, and as to ask them questions about the effect of treatment and cancer on mental health, specifically related to body image, and also about how cancer diagnosis and treatment affects relationships,” said James Tucker Osteen, M.D, Medical Oncologist and Hematologist at Texas Oncology.
Survey results found that 45% of respondents said they were grateful for their body’s perseverance. On the contrary, 34% said they expect the change in how they view their body to be permeant.
“What we found is that a fair amount of people had changes in their body, were kind of predisposed to issues with depression, anxiety, and strain on some relationships,” said Osteen.
70% of survey respondents said they experienced one or more symptoms of depression and 65% with anxiety.
The survey reported that 49% said relationships with their spouses were negatively impacted and 15% were positively impacted.
Seeking support services was found to play a monumental role in a patient’s mental health and self-perception.
“The study showed is that a strong support group was very important to help patients manage this both personal relationships with family, friends, and also professional relationships with professional led support groups and individual counseling,” explained Osteen.
Only a third of survey participants said they sought out physical and mental health resources. However, cancer patients wished that the top two ways they received more support were more emotionally (46%) and mentally (39%)
Osteen continued, “the study showed is that the people who did seek professional help, either individually or as professionally led support groups, they had an excellent response. They rated that experience very highly. And we try to help people connect to groups like that.”
Texas Oncology offers online and in-person support groups including, Princess Warriors, Dudes and Divas.
Princess Warriors meets every first Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. at Texas Oncology Amarillo focusing on gynecologic oncology. Dudes and Divas also meet on the first Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m., focusing on breast cancer support.
The newest support group is Catching Cancer’s Curveballs: A skill-building workshop. It focuses on understanding the emotional impact and effects of stress on the body. While finding skills to manage daily struggles.
Texas Oncology hopes that this survey will start a conversation and help better understand and serve patients.
“We really just want to raise awareness of all the emotional, spiritual and mental challenges with treatment,” said Osteen. “Hopefully, this research will lead to more discussions about this aspect of cancer care, and we’ll be able to take better care of our patients.”
The full results of the survey can be found at the following link.