Cancer and treatment can be hard on your body. It can also affect your thoughts and feelings. This brochure describes some of the feelings you may have and some ways to help deal with them.
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Dealing with Your Feelings
Cancer and treatment can be hard on your body. It can also affect your thoughts and feelings. Some people with cancer:
You should decide what is best for you. Try not to compare yourself with others.
Lots of feelings
Here are some feelings you may have:
Feeling overwhelmed. When you have cancer, your routines will change. You may hear medical words you do not understand. It is okay to feel helpless or confused at times.
Denial. This is a feeling of disbelief. It means you have trouble accepting that you have cancer. Denial is not always a negative feeling. It can be a way to give yourself time to adjust. But if denial goes on too long, you might not get the treatment you need.
Anger. Most people with cancer feel angry at times. Asking, "Why me?" is normal. You may get mad at the cancer, at yourself, or at other people. But anger can inspire you to take action. Talking about anger can help you manage it.
Fear and worry. Cancer can be scary. It is normal to worry about:
Hope. Some people feel hopeful when they accept that they have cancer. There are good reasons to have hope. Millions of people live with cancer. The chances of surviving are better than ever. A hopeful outlook may even help you feel better physically.
Anxiety and stress. Dealing with stress can be difficult. Anxiety can lead to a fast heartbeat, headaches, or an upset stomach. You may get shaky or have trouble sleeping. Paying attention to these feelings can help you cope with them.
Sadness. It is normal to feel sad, even after treatment. If feelings of sadness or tiredness keep getting worse, you may have depression. Talk to your care team if you feel depressed for more than 2 weeks.
Guilt. You may feel like a burden. Or you blame yourself for upsetting your loved ones. This is also normal. Sometimes patients feel guilty for being envious of healthy people. Others might feel like their choices led to the cancer.
Loneliness. What you go through as a cancer survivor can be hard for others to understand. This can make you feel lonely. You may need to stay home instead of meeting friends, family, or coworkers too. Even after treatment, some people miss the support of their care team.
Gratitude. Cancer can feel like a "wake-up call" to be thankful for what you have. You might focus more on the little things. Some people with cancer decide to see new places, finish old projects, or improve relationships.
Ways to deal with feelings
Your care team is a great source of support. Here are some other ways you can cope with feelings:
Remember that you don't have to go through this alone!