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April 18, 2022

Coping with the emotional side of cancer

Change is a constant, which can be especially true for those with cancer, as they manage changing treatments, schedules, finances, and future plans.1

Those who might be feeling emotional can try:

Letting it out

People who have received a cancer diagnosis shouldn’t keep their thoughts and feelings inside or pretend to be okay when they’re not.1,2 If they aren’t comfortable talking with friends and family, they might want to consider seeing a counselor or joining a support group.1 Another option is a stress management class.1,3 Healthcare providers can help those seeking resources.

Partnering with physicians

Accurate health information can help people feel more in charge of their health, make more-informed decisions, and let go of a little worry. At appointments, they should ask questions, speak up if they don’t understand, and tell their doctor about any symptoms they’re experiencing, such as sleeping problems, headaches, or appetite changes. They may be able to treat these issues separately.1

Asking for help

Those undergoing treatment may experience times they can’t do as much as they’d like. One suggestion is to let friends and family help with preparing healthy meals, cleaning, running errands, walking the dog, and handling other tasks if they’re not feeling up to them at the time.1

Staying active

People with cancer might want to prioritize doing the activities they enjoy, or trying something new. Reading, crafts, music, and meditation are a few less-physically taxing ideas. However, exercise like yoga, bicycling, swimming, and walking can build and maintain feelings of strength.2,3 Doctors can suggest appropriate activities to try.

Looking forward

Whether expecting a new niece or grandchild, planning a trip, or anticipating another special occasion, those dealing with a diagnosis may benefit from thinking about those goals to stay positive.

Those experiencing emotions that feel overwhelming or concerning for more than two weeks should consider reaching out to their healthcare team for support and resources.

To support your employees facing a cancer diagnosis, see how AccessHope can help.

Last updated February 18, 2021

References
1 Adjusting to life with cancer. American Cancer Web site. https://www.cancer.org/treatment/survivorship-during-and-after-treatment/coping/adjusting-to-life-with-cancer.html. Updated November 23, 2020. Accessed August 9, 2021.
2 Feelings and cancer. Cancer.gov. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/feelings. Updated August 20, 2018. Accessed August 9, 2021.
3 Keep up with your daily routine. Cancer.gov. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/coping/day-to-day/daily-routine. Updated January 24, 2019. Accessed August 9, 2021.
 

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