Having cancer means having to deal with issues and situations that may frighten and challenge you. There is no right or wrong way to feel. People have different reactions and emotions at different times. You may experience sudden changes in your moods and feelings. These emotions are part of the process many people go through when dealing with an illness.
Common fears and thoughts about cancer may include:
- ‘I don’t want to lose my independence and freedom.’
- ‘I don’t want my family or friends to treat me differently.’
- ‘I don’t know how I’ll cope financially.’
- ‘I might miss out on a promotion or lose important work contacts.’
- ‘I may have to make big changes to my lifestyle.’
- ‘I may die.’
These are likely to be very real concerns for you and those close to you. It’s fine to worry about them and be upset by them. And it’s fine to cry and say how you feel when things feel tough.
At any time after your cancer diagnosis, you may have the following feelings:
Shock and disbelief
You may find the diagnosis hard to believe and feel numb. You may not be able to take in much information and keep asking the same questions. You might find it hard to talk to family or friends about the cancer. We have more information on the benefits of talking. This includes some tips on asking for support, and what to do if you don’t want to talk.
Fear and anxiety
You may feel frightened about the treatment and about whether it will work. You might be anxious about what will happen in the future. We have more information about fear and anxiety.
Some people may blame themselves or others for the cancer. They might try to find reasons for why it has happened to them. But most of the time, it is impossible to know exactly what has caused a person’s cancer. There are people who can help you get the help and support you need.
Sadness and depression
You may feel sad that cancer has interrupted plans you had or that your future feels uncertain. Feeling sad is a natural reaction to loss. It may come and go throughout your treatment and after it has finished. For most people, these periods of sadness will pass. But for some people, their sadness may continue or get worse. Their sadness may be turning into depression.
You may get angry with the people close to you. You may even resent other people for being well. These are normal reactions. Let people close to you know that you are angry at your illness and not at them. Finding ways to help you relax and reduce stress can help with anger. You can also take positive steps to help yourself.
It is important to remember that everyone reacts differently. There is no right or wrong way to feel.