By Dr. Mallika Marshall

BOSTON (CBS) – Many people diagnosed with cancer suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Researchers in Malaysia looked at almost 500 adults who had been diagnosed with different types of cancer. One in five had developed PTSD within a few months of their diagnosis and some of those still had symptoms four years later.

Getting the news that you have cancer can be shocking and the treatment itself can be traumatic. And then some patients continue to live in fear that the cancer will return.

Patients with PTSD can have sleep problems, may be more likely to use substances, and may avoid seeking treatment for unrelated health issues for fear that it might trigger traumatic memories about their cancer therapy.

So we need to make sure that patients diagnosed with cancer are offered mental health support to ensure parents maintain a good quality of life not only physically but mentally as well.

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