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Learning that your cancer has come back or has spread may be even more devastating than hearing for the first time that you have cancer.
Hearing that your cancer has come back or has spread may be hard to take in. You may find it hard to think clearly, or your mind may go blank. This shock and disbelief can give way to powerful emotions |and, at times, you may feel overwhelmed.
People often have a sense of loss, a strong sense of disappointment or feelings of failure. You may have hoped that you were cured and now find that your cancer has come back despite all your efforts to overcome it.
You may find yourself feeling low or tearful. Some people resent that life goes on as normal around them while they have to cope with so much.
Many people are frightened. You may have times when you feel afraid of the illness itself, of any symptoms it may cause (such as pain) or of the treatment| and possible side effects|. You may worry about the effect it will have on your family. People often worry about the future or about dying.
You may feel very angry| - with yourself, or with your doctors and nurses for giving you bad news. You may be angry at fate, feeling that it’s so unfair this has happened. You may be resentful and frustrated that your immediate plans will be disrupted with tests and treatment, and that your long-term plans have suddenly become uncertain.
Some thoughts may shock you, such as ‘I’d love to buy some new clothes, but will I ever get to wear them?’ Different people have different emotions. Living with the uncertainty that comes with advanced cancer is likely to be physically and emotionally demanding.
You could call our cancer support specialists for support and information at this time.
Content last reviewed: 1 September 2011
Next planned review: 2013
For answers, support or just a chat, call the Macmillan Support Line free (Monday to Friday, 9am-8pm)
If you have any questions about cancer, need support or just want someone to talk to, ask Macmillan.
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© Macmillan Cancer Support 2013
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