Just been diagnosed?

Being told you have cancer is a huge shock. You may feel anxious and uncertain about what will happen next.

Your doctor will explain the type of cancer you have and what tests and treatment you will need. But often it can be difficult to take in everything that’s being said. We can give you information about:

  • tests and scans
  • the type of cancer you have
  • different treatment options and possible side effects.

For many people, a cancer diagnosis is life changing. Knowing what financial and emotional support is available can make the future seem a little less daunting. You can contact one of our cancer support specialists, who will be able to answer any of your questions about living with cancer.

Some people may find it helpful to have some statistics when making treatment decisions. However, while statistics can give you an idea of what may happen, doctors can’t say for certain what will happen to you.

Just been diagnosed?

Finding out that you have cancer can be a shock, even if you already suspected it. Cancer is a word that can stir up many fears and emotions. However, a diagnosis of cancer doesn’t mean that you have to give up hope. These days, many people are cured of cancer or are able to live with it for many years.

How we can help

A cancer diagnosis is overwhelming and many people don’t know where to turn. We can help you:

  • find out about tests you may need
  • understand more about the type of cancer you have
  • make sense of the treatment options and possible side effects
  • understand healthcare services and what they can offer you.

An icon of a green ring-binder calendar with the number 31 on it.

Relationships and work

If you’ve recently been diagnosed with cancer, you might be wondering:

  • how this will affect your family and relationships
  • how to tell people
  • how to cope with work and financial concerns.

We're here for you every step of the way, and there are many ways we can help.

You can contact one of our cancer support specialists, who can answer any of your questions about cancer and its treatment. They can talk to you about any aspect of living with cancer, such as eating problems, coping with side effects, talking to people, and managing your work and finances. They can also tell you where a local support group is, or how to access a counsellor. Or you may want to join our online community where you can share your experience and exchange tips with others.

Asking questions

You can ask your healthcare team about anything that is important to you. There are no right or wrong questions. We have put together some questions, asked by people who have had cancer, which may help.

Cancer statistics

Your doctor or nurse may use statistics when giving you information about cancer.

Cancer statistics are often used to:

  • say what a person’s risk of getting cancer is
  • help guide decisions about treatments
  • give information about prognosis and survival rates.

Statistics are based on trends in large numbers of people. They are often used to help explain what the chances (probability) are of something happening. But they can’t tell you for certain what will happen to a particular person.

Statistics can sometimes help us to make decisions about which treatments to have. For example, if research shows that 3 out of every 4 people (75%) benefit from a particular cancer treatment, this means there’s a good chance it will be helpful to you, although this isn’t guaranteed.

Because cancer statistics are usually quite general, while you and your situation are unique, there won’t be any statistics that can say exactly what will happen in your case. Your doctor can help you understand how any statistics that they do use relate to your treatment and situation.

It’s not unusual for people to find statistics confusing and difficult to understand. If you don’t understand the statistics your doctor gives you, it’s fine to ask them or your nurse to explain them again, possibly in a different way. You could also discuss them with one of our cancer support specialists.

Back to If you have been diagnosed

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