Coping With Kidney Cancer and Depression

Dealing With Depression After Diagnosis

Kidney Cancer and DepressionDepression can strike at almost any time. Sometimes the condition begins during periods of calm where your life is steady and stable. More times than not, though, it seems to creep in during a crisis.

These periods of high stress and poor self-care are where depression grows and strengthens because you, as the victim, are more vulnerable. As the negatives in your life grow, the positives can no longer outweigh them. At this point, prevention is no longer an option, and symptoms of depression are likely to begin.

Some events or situations are likely to trigger increased symptoms of depression are:

  • A shift in work or relationship status
  • Chronic stress from legal or financial issues
  • Problems related to trauma events
  • Significant life transition (starting college, moving away)
  • Death or illness of friend or family member
  • Your own illness

If you have recently received a diagnosis of kidney cancer, it is easy to see how most of the items from the list could apply to you. A cancer diagnosis can be a major shift in your lifestyle that can lead to changing relationships, work status, and chronic stress as you manage the direct and indirect effects of the condition.

In short, kidney cancer will impact many phases of your mental, physical, and social health. It is your challenge to manage the negative impact of cancer on your life.

What to Look For

Despite the fact that depression is a commonly known mental health disorder, there is some confusion over what actually qualifies as depression. The misunderstandings arise because everyone has periods of sadness, and everyone experiences periods when they don’t feel like completing expected tasks.


Depression is different, though. It will be multiple symptoms of depression occurring more often than not over a stretch of time.

Signs of depression related to your kidney cancer diagnosis might include:

  • Feeling sad or irritable more often
  • Changes in sleep.
  • Changes in eating or weight
  • Changes in energy and motivation
  • Feeling or appearing sped up or slowed down
  • Decreasing levels of attention and concentration
  • Feeling guilt or worthlessness
  • Thoughts of death

Depression From Grief and Loss

Too often, people only associate grief and loss issues with death. In reality, a wide range of changes that occur in someone’s life can trigger grief and loss symptoms.

So, even if your kidney cancer prognosis is a good one, you could experience aspects of grief and loss. Possible losses include:

  • Loss of physical health
  • Loss of independence
  • Loss of a part of you — in the case of a kidney needing to be removed
  • Loss of your daily structure and routine due to new appointments or need for dialysis

Next page: how to take action against depression.

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Eric PattersonEric Patterson

Eric Patterson, LPC is a professional counselor in western Pennsylvania working for the last 10 years to help children, teens and adults achieve their goals and live happier lives. Read more about Eric and his writing at

Jan 10, 2017
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