When things slow down a bit, the severity of the situation becomes real. Naturally, you will have very negative feelings about this disease and the changes it is causing in your life. Living with a cancer means learning to re-direct those feelings into productive responses.


Surviving a cancer emotionally means working through various responses to illnesses. You and your loved ones will experience many of the same emotional reactions. Having a cancer makes people re-evaluate their lives. Not everyone experiences the same feelings, and not everyone shows their emotions.


Disbelief is normal, it takes tame for the news to become real. You will feel traumatised and depressed. Many people go through a state of temporary denial. It is common to become numb and hide or deny your feelings. This stage can last from a few days to even a few months.


It is common to feel anger. Life may seem very unfair. Some people develop a sense of resignation about living with their cancer and the physical or emotional changes that come with the diagnosis. Hidden anger is sometimes shown by irritability, sleeplessness and fatigue.


You may feel resentment because you have the disease and not somebody else. Resentment often turns into depression.


This is often the result of coming to terms with the serious nature of the diagnosis, treatment and prognosis. It is usually temporary. If depression deepens and begins affecting your relationships and your ability to function, it is important you seek professional development.


This stage begins when you realise the cancer is a reality. Hopefully you will begin to plan your life constructively and meaningfully. You will reassess values and think about how you want to live your life.


Physical activity may be the last thing on your mind, but it can help. Try relaxation and meditation. Communication is important. Allow yourself to cry and find someone to confide in. Accept help from others without feeling guilty or obligated to repay the favours. Look after yourself, set limits. Treat yourself. Build on existing areas of skill and interest. Join a support group and if needed seek professional help.


  • Cancer Nurse Coordinator
  • OSCA
  • Psychologists
  • Cansupport
  • Cancer Council NSW


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