Cancer is a Crisis

A diagnosis of cancer will create a state of crisis of some intensity in nearly all individuals. The reason for this crisis is that most persons have no habitual, problem-solving mechanisms for cancer-related crises, and there ensues what is called a state of cognitive confusion wherein you literally do not know how to think about the problem, how to evaluate reality, or how to formulate an outcome to the crisis. Information is needed, but due to the shock and unfamiliarity of the situation, it is hard to accept, and even harder to understand, the broad implications of the information you do receive. In short, a crisis generally throws a person into a normless situation, and a state of panic results.

Sequence of Crises

To make it even more difficult, for most persons diagnosed with cancer, cancer is not just one crisis, but a sequence of crises. There is the crisis of the diagnosis, or perhaps even earlier there was the crisis of finding a symptom that you feared might be cancer. There is the crisis during the initial, intensive treatment, whether it is surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of therapies.

Often there is a crisis after finishing intensive treatment. The end of intensive treatment begins the waiting period to see whether or not the therapy has been effective. Some persons with cancer feel more secure about the potential of cure or about controlling their cancer when they are undergoing therapy, and are a little frightened when no treatment is being given.

For persons on treatment protocols, each treatment cycle may create a crisis. There also may be crisis periods related to side effects. If there is a recurrence of the disease, new crises will occur. A common factor of each of these crisis periods is that the crisis usually is accompanied by fear and uncertainty. Fear is a part of the disease of cancer. Fear is normal. It is a basic human emotion. Cancer-related fear can be managed.