Coping with Emotions During Cancer Treatment

As you go through treatment, you may find yourself going through a range of feelings you’re not used to dealing with. Also, you may find that existing feelings seem more intense. These feelings will change daily, hourly, or even in a matter of minutes.

Here are some of the common feelings that cancer patients may deal with:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Fear and worry
  • Stress and Anxiety
  • Sadness and depression
  • Guilt
  • Loneliness
  • Gratitude
  • Hope

The good news is that we have the support and resources to help you cope with these emotions.

Ways to manage your emotions:

  • Expressing your feelings — it helps to talk about your feelings with family, friends, other cancer survivors, a support group or counselor. If you prefer not to discuss your cancer with others, you can still express your feelings by thinking about them or writing them down.
  • Looking for the positive — try to find the good even in a bad time or try to be hopeful instead of thinking the worst.
  • Do not blame yourself for your cancer — remember, cancer can happen to anyone. It is not due to something you did or didn’t do.
  • Don’t try to be upbeat if you’re not — it’s ok to give in to your feelings. If you have a bad day, say so and allow yourself to have those feelings.
  • You choose when to talk about your cancer — your family and friends may not know how to talk to you about your cancer. You can help them feel more at ease by asking them what they think or how they feel.
  • Find ways to help yourself relax — take time to do things that help you wind down such as meditation, reading, listening to music, or taking a walk.
  • Be as active as you can — try to leave your home and do things to distract you from cancer. It can be activities such as exercise, yoga or stretching.
  • Look for things you can enjoy — practice your favorite hobby or pick up a new one such as drawing, woodworking, reading, dancing, or music.
  • Look at what you can control — by setting a daily schedule, it can give you a sense of control. However, you cannot control every thought. So, try not to dwell on the fearful thoughts, but instead focus on the positive parts of your life and enjoy them.

At the MD Anderson Proton Therapy Center, we have resources to help cope with any psychological and emotional issues.

Resources at the Proton Therapy Center: