A diagnosis of cancer often means we experience a whole variety of emotions. These may include shock, anxiety, sadness, relief, uncertainty and for some people, depression. This section gives information on some of the emotions you may have and aims to help you manage them.
Hear other people's stories
Coping with the emotional effects of cancer can be tough. You might find it helpful to watch our videos of how other people coped, and how counselling can help.
Cancer and your emotions
When you are first told you have cancer you may feel shocked, numb, and unable to believe what’s going on.
The doctor's lips were moving but I couldn't hear any sound coming out.
You may feel as though the situation is happening to someone else, and that you’re watching yourself from the outside.
Being diagnosed with cancer is a life-changing experience for most people. Many thoughts usually come to mind. Sometimes people’s first thoughts are based on how things were in the past, when cancer treatments were less effective.
Cancer can have a huge effect on your emotions, as well as on the practical aspects of your life. You may experience shock, fear, anger, sadness, loneliness or depression. These feelings may occur at the time of diagnosis, during treatment, or when you’re recovering and adjusting to life after treatment.
It can also be very hard for relatives, partners and friends to accept that someone close to them has been diagnosed with cancer. They may not know what to say or how they can help. They may also have difficult feelings to cope with.
This section discusses some of the common feelings that people affected by cancer may have, and looks at what may help. Whatever your situation – whether it’s you who has cancer, or a friend or relative – you don’t have to face it alone.
If you’d like to discuss any of the information in this section, get in touch with our cancer support specialists.