The Emotional Side of Cancer

Cancer has an emotional impact, whether it is yourself who has been diagnosed with cancer, or a loved one. It can leave you with many different and sometimes confusing feelings: shocked, sad, angry, frightened, and more.

Although some forms of cancer are readily curable with little disruption to you or your family, at other times, cancer, like other life crises, may require major adjustments. Cancer can threaten your sense of yourself, upset your beliefs and shake your confidence in the future. It can leave you feeling vulnerable and anxious.

You may find yourself having to cope with many different feelings, and having to make decisions you may not otherwise have had to make.

Try to remember that every situation is unique, and that there is not one "right" way to feel or to cope. However, there are concerns and feelings that are common to most people with cancer and their loved ones. We also know through experience and research that there are strategies and supports that have proven helpful to others. We want to ensure that you know about them, and how to access them.

This section describes some of these common reactions, and identifies where you can find help and support for yourself and/or your family (see Getting Help and Support Groups and Information Sessions).

You may find yourself hesitant to contact us. Some people feel that getting help means that they are not "strong" or that there is something wrong with them. The reality is that feeling distressed about cancer and all that it entails is normal and part of being human. The quality of your life and that of your family and friends can be significantly improved through accessing the information, support and counseling resources we have available. No one needs to face cancer alone.

In all that we do, we hope to make it easier for you to deal with your situation with as much ease and understanding as possible.