Common Feelings

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer, even if it was somehow "expected", almost always comes with a feeling of emotional shock. Like many others, you may find that you have trouble "thinking straight" and remembering what it is you have been told.

Common feelings you and your loved ones may experience are fear and anxiety; grief and sorrow; anger; vulnerability; a sense of loss of control and/or having been betrayed by your own body. You may also be feeling hopeful and find that your relationships have become closer and more meaningful. People have described their experience as one of being on an emotional roller coaster.

All of this and much more is normal. It is not just your physical body that has tests, checkups, surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation treatments. These experiences have a profound effect on feelings and emotions.

There are many misconceptions about how people are affected emotionally by cancer. One of the more common misunderstandings concerns depression. There tends to be an unfounded belief that everyone diagnosed with cancer is depressed. There is a difference between depression and the sadness and grief that people facing cancer and their loved ones feel at times.

Some people do experience a major depression which can be successfully treated either with counseling, medication, or a combination of both. But at times this can be difficult to recognize because some of the symptoms are similar to symptoms from the cancer itself or the cancer treatments. We can help sort out these differences and provide treatment for depression if needed. Talk to your doctor or nurse, or contact Psychosocial Oncology.

To find out more about cancer and depression, click the link in the box above.

Anxiety and cancer are almost inevitably linked. Finding ways to manage it whether you are a patient or family member can be challenging.

Anxiety may be relieved by using coping strategies that have been proven to work for others such as counseling (see Psychosocial Oncology), talking with others who have been through a similar experience, learning relaxation techniques, medication, and accessing appropriate and reliable information. Go to our Current Programs page and search under Peer Support, Support Groups and/or Introduction to Relaxation for more information about what kinds of resources are available to you. If you would like to learn more about cancer and anxiety, click the link in the box above.

Talking about your feelings, worries, hopes and fears is often more helpful than keeping them inside. It makes sense to take care of your emotional well being. Many people have found it helpful to talk to a counselor who specializes in working with people with cancer and their families and loved ones; or to share with others who have lived the cancer experience.

We can help. Call us at (204) 787-2109 and ask to speak to one of our counsellors.