Coping with uncertainty
Being diagnosed with cancer can take away your sense of security, and leave you feeling uncertain about what’s ahead. This can be very frightening.
Feeling that we have some control over our lives gives us a sense of security and allows us to enjoy the things that we do. It’s natural to want to know what’s likely to happen to us next, so that we can make plans for the future.
Uncertainty can be one of the hardest feelings to deal with, and it may make you feel irritable, angry and frightened.
It can help to find out as much as possible about the illness and what’s likely to happen, as this can help reduce your
When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I thought I was going to die within months, because no one explained the concept of ‘living with cancer’ to me at the time – this was something I had to find out for myself
stress. It’s best to discuss this with your doctors and nurses, as they know your situation and are involved in your treatment.
Try to be clear with them about what and how much you want to know. It can help to write a list of the questions you may want before you go.
You may find that doctors can’t answer your questions fully, or that their answers sound vague. For example, it’s often impossible for them to say for certain how effective a treatment will be. Doctors know approximately how many people will benefit from a certain treatment but they can’t predict the future for a particular person.
Many people find this uncertainty hard to live with. But there are certain things you can do to help.