According to Wendy Lichtenthal, a clinical psychologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering, a survivor’s view of his or her illness can determine how well he or she may adjust to life after treatment. Survivors who view their illness as a punishment are more likely to suffer from depression, while those who see the positive side have less depression and function better physically after treatment.
Finding meaning from a cancer diagnosis and treatment is a difficult process that usually occurs over a period of time. Different factors — such as a survivor’s stage of life, age, and other circumstances — can affect this process. Dr. Lichtenthal encourages cancer survivors to consider their core beliefs and acknowledge the physical and psychological challenges they face. She explains that survivors ultimately have the power to choose how they view their cancer experience.