The Emotional Journey of Cancer Treatment
b You have cancerb are three words no one wants to hear. When you or a loved one is diagnosed with cancer it can turn your life upside down and send your emotions into a tailspin. Most people experience emotions ranging from anger and guilt to sadness and depression throughout their treatment journey.
Cancer treatment and your emotional well-being
Experiencing a wide range of emotion throughout your cancer treatment is normal. Here are some common emotions patients experience and how to cope with them along your cancer journey:
Fear and uncertainty can often leave a person feeling lost or overwhelmed, particularly in those first days and weeks following a cancer diagnosis. To help alleviate these feelings, try to learn as much as you can about your particular cancer. Ask questions and don’t be afraid to say when you don’t understand.
Soon after a cancer diagnosis some people may not believe or accept they have cancer. This can be a useful coping mechanism because it can give you time to adjust to your diagnosis. If it lasts too long, however, it can keep you from the treatment you need. The good news is most people work through their denial by the time treatment begins.
Anger often manifests when you have other emotions that are more difficult to express,B like fear, panic, frustration, anxiety or helplessness. While it is okay to express your feelings of anger with your friends and family, you may want to seek the support of a counselor who specializes in and understands cancer care.
- Stress and anxiety
During cancer treatment, many people may feel stress and anxiety due to all of the life changes theyb re experiencing. Because prolonged or recurrent stress limits your bodyb s ability to heal, you may want to consider talking to your doctor or find a counselor to talk to. The key is to find healthy ways to control your stress, so it doesnb t control you.
- Sadness and depression
Feelings of sadness and depression are common (and normal) in people with cancer. If you are overwhelmed by these feelings for more than two weeks, talk to your doctor about possible treatment options. Depression can be treated.
- Hope and adjustment
Once people have accepted their cancer diagnosis, they often experience a sense of hope, which may help your body deal with cancer. There are so many reasons to have hope and feel hopefulb your chances of living with and beyond your cancer diagnosis are better than they have ever been before. In fact, most people can lead active lives during cancer treatment.