Denial in Cancer—Salutary or Deleterious
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Abstract: Cancer, in common with other life-threatening or life modifying illnesses, evokes strong psycho-emotional reactions from patients, their families, and society . Denial is one of the significant reactions both the oncologist and psychologist need to identify and address. This reaction can be salutary when it gives way to acceptance or a strong will to surmount the immediate treatment effects and change attitudes and lifestyle. More often, unfortunately, it can impact adversely, leading to a range of reactions from nonchalance, euphoria, and avoidance of therapy by the patient or caregiver, to depression and reclusive behaviour . As healthcare givers in the hospital or community, recognising and supporting this phase of ‘breaking bad news’ can significantly influence outcomes. These poems reflect on the manifold manifestations of denial—in the short term, a panacea; in the long term, a deterrent to recovery or living life with cancer.