A cancer diagnosis has a profound impact on a person’s life. Not only does the cancer patient have to deal with the physical symptoms, side effects of cancer treatment regimens, and potential changes to the body, but they also must deal with the mental and emotional challenges that come with a cancer diagnosis.
It is normal to feel scared, sad, angry, and helpless when first diagnosed with cancer. These are all perfectly natural reactions to receiving such news. However, it is important to find healthy ways to cope with these feelings rather than letting them overwhelm you.
There are many different coping strategies that people find helpful in dealing with the mental and emotional aspects of cancer and cancer care.
GET ALL THE FACTS
Living in the dark enhances the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety that come with a cancer diagnosis. It is important to get as much information about your particular situation as possible. This way, you can be better prepared for what lies ahead.
Talk to your doctor and ask them any questions you may have about your diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis. Be sure to write down the answers so that you have a clear understanding of what is happening.
Some of these questions can be:
- What kind of cancer type do I have, and where is it localized?
- Has it spread, and if so, to which parts of the body?
- Can the cancer be treated?
- What are the chances of the cancer being cured?
- What are the tests and procedures involved in the process?
The more you know about your cancer, the better you will be able to cope with what is ahead.
In a cancer diagnosis, it is essential to be a good communicator with both your loved ones and your medical team. This is important for both emotional support and practical reasons.
Having open and honest communication with your friends and family will allow them to be there for you in the way that you need them. It can also help to reduce some of the stress that comes from worrying about how they are handling your diagnosis. Talk to them about your fears and concerns, as well as what you are feeling.
Equally important is staying in close communication with your health care team. Be sure to let them know about any changes in your symptoms, side effects, or questions that you may have. This will help to ensure that they are aware of your situation and can provide you with the best possible care.
BE PREPARED FOR CHANGES
Cancer and cancer treatment will likely cause many changes in your life. Some of them may be small, while others can be more significant.
If there are any physical changes to your body, it is important to recognize that this is normal and not something to be ashamed of. If you feel uncomfortable discussing these changes with your medical team, you may want to consider talking about these changes with a trusted friend or family member..
For example, if you anticipate hair loss due to chemotherapy, you may want to consider talking to your hairstylist about possible wigs or head coverings options.
You may also want to consider making changes to your home and work life to accommodate any physical changes or limitations.
For example, if you are having trouble sleeping due to pain, you may want to adjust your work schedule so that you can take naps during the day.
Knowing what to expect in advance and planning for it can help to make the transition smoother and be easier on your mental wellbeing.
MAINTAIN A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Taking care of yourself physically is critical in getting through a cancer diagnosis and reducing any emotional distress you may be experiencing.
This means being mindful of your physical health by eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise, as well as engaging in activities that make you feel good, such as yoga or meditation.
It can also be helpful to find an outlet for any stress or anxiety that you may be feeling. This could be through talking to a therapist, writing in a journal, or talking to a support group.
All of these things will help to improve your overall well-being and make it easier to cope with cancer.
RELY ON YOUR SUPPORT SYSTEM
Your friends, neighbors, and family members will want to help. This may be something as simple as a loved one cooking a meal or taking care of your pets while you are in the hospital. It is important to let them help, as it will take some of the burdens off of you and will allow them to feel useful in a time when everyone feels helpless.
It can also be helpful to connect with other people who are going through a similar experience. This could be done through support groups or online forums. Talking to others who understand what you are going through can be incredibly helpful and can help you to feel less alone.
Build a support system that you can rely on to help you through this difficult time, and don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. Doing these things will make the journey just a little bit easier to bear.
FOLLOW YOUR ROUTINE
Do your best to live as normally as possible. This can be easier said than done, of course, but making your daily schedule as normal as possible will help to reduce some of the stress and anxiety that comes with having cancer.
Humans are creatures of habit, and a familiar routine can provide a sense of control in the midst of chaos.
So, if you normally go for a walk every day, try to keep that up. If you have a favorite TV show that you like to watch, make sure to set aside time for that. Whatever your routine is, do your best to stick to it, even if it means adjusting some things to accommodate your cancer.
TURN TO SPIRITUALITY
If you are a spiritual person, this can be a valuable time to lean on your faith. Whether you consider yourself religious or not, many people find comfort in spirituality when faced with a difficult situation.
Prayer, meditation, and other spiritual practices can help to ease anxiety and provide a sense of peace. If you are not spiritual, that’s okay too. There are many other ways to get comfort and support in difficult times, such as through positive affirmations or by writing in a journal.
Whatever works for you, try to keep this going throughout your cancer journey. It can provide much-needed stability when everything else seems out of control.
When your physical body is under attack by cancer, it can be difficult to know how to cope mentally. The tips above are just a few ideas to get you started. Remember, there is no one universal way to deal with cancer and its psychological effects.
Try to maintain a positive mindset and focus on the practical things you can do to make the journey easier. Make specific plans for the future and seek out help from the people who care about you.
Most importantly, try to live your life as normally as possible and turn to whatever source of strength works to get through this difficult time. By following these tips, you will be better equipped to handle whatever comes your way during this difficult time.
While we have made significant progress in the treatment of some types of cancer, there is still much work to be done. Consider donating to one or more of our campaigns that support the advancement of cancer-fighting innovations to continue making progress in the battle against cancer.