Shulamith Kreitler

Shulamith Kreitler

Tel-Aviv University, Israel
Being an Oncology Patient (or: a Survivor) in the Beginning of the 21st Century
Abstract:

Being a cancer patient is a particularly difficult state for an individual – physically, socially and psychologically. The load of problems is so large that it often results in traumatic reactions. When a patient becomes a survivor the nature of the difficulties changes but the load and stress do not always decrease significantly. The major problems concern re-entering the framework of one's life, including family, friends and work; readjusting to the changes; defining anew one's identity; keeping track of the medical requirements and innovations; dealing with the constant awareness of the possibility of dying. Survivors are often faced with the difficulties of maintaining their meaningfulness of life despite inevitable changes that concern their body, mental state, goals and view of reality. Means will be described for replacing traumatic responses with posttraumatic growth, displacing despair and depression by creativity and uncovering new vistas of activity, and enhancing one's sense of life and vitality.