The Mental and Emotional Toll of Cancer
A cancer diagnosis is life-altering. It’s natural to feel scared, confused, and overwhelmed. While everyone’s experience differs, some common mental and emotional challenges accompany a cancer diagnosis. It’s essential to be aware of these challenges to prepare yourself for the journey ahead better.
Fear and Anxiety
A cancer diagnosis can be a shock. It’s normal to feel scared, anxious, and overwhelmed. You may worry about your health, job, finances, and relationships. It’s easy to feel like your life is out of control. But there are things you can do to cope with your feelings and manage your anxiety.
It may help to talk to someone who can understand what you’re going through—like a friend, family member, or therapist. You can also join a support group for people with cancer or their loved ones. Talking to others facing similar challenges can make you feel less alone and more supported.
Make sure you take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Eat healthy foods, exercise, and get plenty of rest. Try to stay positive and focus on the present. Remind yourself that you are not alone and that there are people who care about you. Take one day at a time. Don’t try to do too much at once. And finally, ask for help when you need it. Don’t be afraid to lean on family and friends for support.
How to find a support group
Here are some ways you can find a support group.
- Check with your healthcare team at the hospital or medical center where you receive cancer treatment. Many hospitals and cancer centers host support groups for their patients. Often at no cost.
- Hospitals also have social workers who provide information on resources.
- Search a list of patient advocacy groups by specific disease types. Support groups are often offered as part of their services.
- Search a list of organizations that offer support and services for people with any type of cancer.
- Do an internet search, or search a social media platform you feel comfortable with.
- Ask other patients for suggestions.
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