Contact us to get started

Hope begins here.

If you're an HR or benefits professional seeking cancer resources for your employees, or a consultant looking to provide best-in-class cancer support for your clients, share a few details below. We’ll reach out to help your company get started.

If you’re an employee looking for your AccessHope benefit, call 800.423.3232 and select Option 1.

April 1, 2024

Pets Can Be Good Companions During a Cancer Journey

In For Members

See All Blog Posts >

Many people think of their pets as part of the family. If you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, that type of close bond with an animal can give you an emotional lift. Below are a few ways being around a beloved pet can help you feel supported during and after cancer treatment.

Providing Comfort

Having cancer doesn’t just affect your physical well-being. It may also bring up a range of strong emotions. At times, you might feel stressed, anxious, sad, down, or overwhelmed. The affection and comfort that you receive from a pet can help you deal with these difficult feelings.

More research is needed on the emotional benefits of pet ownership for people with cancer. But several studies have shown that interacting with a pet or trained therapy animal may help:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Decrease depression
  • Enhance feelings of well-being
  • Improve overall quality of life

Preventing Loneliness

It’s not unusual to feel lonely during cancer treatment. In some cases, you may be unable to go to work or engage in a hobby for a while. This can limit your chances to spend time with friends and coworkers. In other cases, you may have friends and family around but feel as if they can’t really understand what you’re going through.

Pets help fill the void by being great company. They always listen when you want to talk—and they never offer unwanted advice in return. Beyond that, pets can be a good conversation starter with other people. For instance, you might chat with other dog lovers at the dog park. Or you might make online friends by joining a social media group that’s geared to your kind of pet.

Keeping you moving

Being physically active during and after cancer treatment helps fend off anxiety and depression. It also improves your energy level and physical well-being. Ask your healthcare provider for advice on the types and amounts of activity that are right for you. 

A pet gives you added motivation to move. You may be more likely to take a short walk, for example, when you know how excited your dog will be to join you. 

Play it safe. At times, your provider may advise turning over some pet care duties to another person. But when you can, walking your dog or playing with a pet may be so much fun that you hardly notice how it’s helping you be active.



UT Southwestern Medical Center Partners with AccessHope to extend nationwide access to cancer expertise 

Read the Press Release