When you have cancer, you may feel very sad at times. This may be at the time of diagnosis, or during or after treatment. This is completely normal and for most people these periods of sadness will pass. We also have some suggestions of positive things you can do that may help you feel better.
For some people, a low mood may continue or get worse. This may mean they have depression and need some extra help or treatment to be able to cope. Depression is common and can be triggered by different events or situations. People who have cancer or have had it in the past can be more likely to be diagnosed with depression. But it can also be related to things that have nothing to do with cancer.
It can be difficult to know whether you are sad and worried about the cancer and its treatment, or whether you have depression. It may be other people who notice symptoms and suggest that you might need help.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- having a very low mood most of the time
- feeling tired or lacking in energy
- not enjoying activities you used to
- crying a lot, or feeling unable to cry
- having difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- being unusually irritable or impatient
- not wanting to see other people
- waking up early, having difficulty sleeping, or sleeping more than usual
- having little motivation to look after yourself
- feeling less affectionate or having a loss of sexual desire
- feeling guilty or worthless
- feeling that the world would be better without you
- having thoughts of harming yourself.
These are just some of the symptoms of depression. They will be different for each person. Some of these symptoms can also be caused by the cancer or its treatment. If you think you may have depression, talk to your doctor or nurse.