How to Cope with Cancer

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Emotional Support for Cancer Patients


Having cancer is, undoubtedly, challenging on all levels – physically, psychologically, and emotionally. And there are multiple factors that play into the emotional impact cancer has on a patient: physical symptoms, such as fatigue and pain, can cause emotional symptoms to occur, while the many changes to daily life can create challenges with regards to one’s sense of self, relationships to others, and sometimes even connection to life itself.

It can be useful to recognize and acknowledge the many changes that cancer is causing you to experience. This can allow patients to appreciate the full scope of what they’re accomplishing every day. It can also help you to cultivate self-compassion and connection with others, and to seek support where needed.

  • Facing the Challenges of Cancer
    As a cancer patient, you might be experiencing:
    • A reduced ability to do everyday activities
    • A reduced ability to engage in fun hobbies
    • Reduction in usual productivity
    • Reduction in physical activity
    • Reduction in general mobility
    • Reduction in independence
    • An increased reliance on others
    • Disconnection between mind and body
    • Overall low levels of energy
    • An overwhelming loss of control
    • Uncertainty about the future
    • Increased stress levels
    • Feeling overwhelmed with health-related decisions
PET/CT scan

Psychological effects of cancer

These changes, understandably, have a big influence on your psychological and emotional well-being. While individual patients each experience their cancer differently, there are some emotions and psychological symptoms that are common to experience during and/or after the illness.

  • Emotional Side Effects of Cancer You might encounter some of these common mental and emotional side effects:
    • Depression
    • Hopelessness
    • Anger
    • Frustration
    • Sadness
    • Anxiety
Two older women at beach

Self-Care for Cancer Patients

So what can be done to make the emotional and psychological effects of cancer a little easier to deal with? And how important is your emotional well-being to your recovery? The answer to both questions is, "a lot!" And each aspect – self-care and positive action – feeds back into the other like a loop.

  • Attitude: You’ve likely heard it before, but your attitude can have a positive impact on your treatment and recovery. Practicing good self-care, accessing supportive resources, and seeking professional counselling can make a big difference to how you feel emotionally on a day-to-day basis. This can increase your sense of hope, enhance your relationships, and help you navigate the ups and downs of treatment.
  • Adaptation: If you feel hopeful for the future, empowered to take action, and supported by others, you’re much more likely to make any necessary changes to optimize your treatment outcome. This might include improving your nutrition, cutting out bad habits (like smoking), and researching treatment options more thoroughly – making your chance at recovery even higher. And in the meantime, you’ll be experiencing a higher quality of life.

To learn more about self-care for cancer patients, please explore these pages:

Learn more about CTOAM’s counselling services and discover how you can start moving forward in your cancer treatment with a greater sense of peace.

Or reach out to our care team to learn how to access the most advanced tests and treatments that medical science has to offer. Feel better, faster, with CTOAM’s precision oncology services.

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