Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis in the New Year

Any kind of cancer diagnosis is life-altering and can be extremely difficult to cope with. You or your loved ones are initially faced with making important decisions around treatments, potential surgeries, and recovery. There is also a psychological aspect that follows this news. You’ll probably have a broad range of emotions that are quite difficult to process. While everyone is different and processes things in their own way, we believe that assistance and information are always beneficial. So, we are sharing experiences of our patients and professionals to offer some coping strategies that can help you.

Understand that Anxiety and Fear Around A Cancer Diagnosis Are Normal

Emotional turmoil is common for anyone diagnosed with cancer. A lot of difficult questions are forced upon you when you are faced with a life-threatening disease. As feelings intensify and questions bring uncertainty, it is essential to realize that this is a normal response. Patients report a broad range of emotions in their cancer journey that you may feel, too:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Worry
  • Hope
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Gratitude

Regardless of which emotions you are feeling, it is important to find positive ways of dealing with them. A few that we recommend include:

Share Your Feelings About Your Cancer Diagnosis

Bottling up and keeping distressing thoughts to yourself is not a good long-term solution. While some patients feel like they need to carry the burden alone, it is more beneficial to express your feelings. Family and friends are your greatest support system in this difficult journey. In addition to friends and family, you can also explore support groups and counselors who can provide additional assistance.

Look for the Positive

It is easy to slip into despair with such a serious diagnosis. Channel your energy and focus on things that help and make you feel better. 

Don’t Force an Upbeat Demeanor

While positivity is important, it is important to process sadness, anger or anxiety before they overwhelm you. If you are feeling down, it is perfectly fine to take a day to reflect on your feelings.

Don’t Blame Yourself

Some patients fall into the trap of blaming themselves for their condition. This stems from the idea that the disease results from something they did or did not do. While factors can play a role, science is still struggling to identify the exact reason why some people are more prone to developing cancer.

Remember, You Are Still in Control

Feelings of uncertainty and hopelessness often accompany a cancer diagnosis. It is important to remember that you are still in control: You choose when you want to talk about your cancer. You can still make decisions for the better and create a daily routine that provides structure and certainty.

More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion so you, too, can experience the difference.