If melanoma is diagnosed at an early stage, there are many treatment options available – but hearing this diagnosis will have a lot of impact. Both physically, as you have to undergo surgery in most cases, and also emotionally. Naturally, for such a serious diagnosis, a large number of patients develop varying levels of depression from melanoma.
If you or are a loved one is experiencing signs of depression, make sure to know that you are not alone. Nearly 25 percent of people with melanoma also have major depression, according to the organization AIM at Melanoma.
When experiencing feelings of depression, it’s best to discuss this with your physician (GP) as he or she can provide a referral to a therapist. This specialist can help in identifying the depression, its signs, and find the best way to treat it. We sat down with licensed counselor Bruce W. Cameron from Dallas, who often treats melanoma patients with emotional problems, to give some insights on how this works.
Are people referred to a therapist?
“Many in my practice are referred. If someone is experiencing significant anxiety and/or depression, they could also contact a therapist directly to seek help.“
In any case, it’s clear that if you are experiencing issues with emotional stability or think that you are dealing with depression, always reach out.
Are melanoma patients different from physically healthy people with depressions?
“Yes. Many times the client is dealing with cancer or pre-cancer condition. This can intensify the fears and depressive symptoms, which is different from healthy persons.”
This makes it even more clear that it is important to act when you feel that you need help dealing with a diagnosis like this. It’s never something to be ashamed of.
What is the most common treatment?
“I utilize Cognitive Behavioral techniques. This helps people become aware of when they make negative interpretations, and of behavioral habits that reinforce distorted thinking. This therapy helps people to develop alternative methods of thinking and behaving which aims to reduce their psychological distress.”
“One exercise is to look at the worse case, then the best case, then plan for the middle case.”
“Also I do Resiliency work. This is the idea that thought shapes our actions. If we can change our thinking and perceptions, we can change our emotions and actions. I help build a mindset to engage in the treatment process for melanoma.”
“An example of an exercise here might be to focus on visualizing a successful battle with melanoma.”
It shows that there are multiple treatment options for when dealing with depression after a melanoma (or any type of skin cancer for that matter) diagnosis. A diagnosis like this can be hard to deal with, that’s why doctors and therapists like Bruce don’t recommend dealing with this on your own.
If you have a personal experience with this that you want to share with other readers, reach out to us and we’ll make sure to spread your important message.
Please advise: this is an informative article and should never be used for self-help of any kind. If you have depressive feelings, ALWAYS reach out to your doctor or therapist to get help, there are always options available.