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Psychological Effects of Radiation Therapy for Patients

Psychological Effects of Radiation Therapy for Patients

It’s common for radiation patients to experience fear, anxiety, depression or anger. While radiation therapy itself is not a direct cause of mental distress, it may indirectly affect a patient’s emotions through fatigue or changes in hormone balance.

Coping With Mental Health: Tips for Recovery

Cancer doesn’t have to be the end of your happiness. It can deprive the world of its beauty, or it can spark an eternal flame to find the strength to recover, build connections, and help you focus on the things you can control. “You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have.” -Bob Marley

Practice Acceptance 

Accepting the reality of a situation is key to improving your mental health. Many cancer patients expressed that meditation has helped them find peace and mental healing. A 2010 study suggests that meditation is moderately effective in reducing anxiety symptoms and improving mood. Result sizes were robust and did not appear to be determined by the number of sessions. Furthermore, improvements were sustained. 

Talk About it

Any doctor or article you read will tell a cancer patient that a good support system is key to have throughout treatment. Sharing a narrative helps us make sense of what individuals encounter in life “As stories are told, however, one is not just the teller but one of the listeners. These stories convince the self as well as others about one’s plans, goals, strengths and weaknesses. It is a human tendency to believe the stories that are told that makes them powerful tools for increasing one’s happiness and well being.” (Rutledge, p. 6) 



Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020, December 10). Common feelings after cancer treatment. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved May 18, 2022, from 

Hofmann SG, Sawyer AT, Witt AA, Oh D. The effect of mindfulness-based therapy on anxiety and depression: A meta-analytic review. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2010 Apr;78(2):169-83. doi: 10.1037/a0018555. PMID: 20350028; PMCID: PMC2848393.

Moore, R. L. (2019). Side effects of radiation therapy. National Caregivers Library. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from

Rejuvaskin. (2021, February 26). 6 Reasons Why Our Radiation Burn Cream Is The Best [web log]. Retrieved May 17, 2022, from 

Rutledge PB. Everything Is Story: Telling Stories and Positive Psychology. In: Gregory EM, Rutledge PB. Exploring Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Well-Being. ABC-CLIO. 2016.

Small, W., Jr, Pugh, S. L., Wagner, L. I., Kirshner, J., Sidhu, K., Bury, M. J., DeNittis, A. S., Alpert, T. E., Tran, B., Bloom, B. F., Mai, J., & Bruner, D. W. (2021). Psychological Treatment for Patients Receiving Radiation: Results of NRG Oncology/RTOG 0841. International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics, 110(4), 962–972.