We all like to know what’s going to happen to us. It helps us feel secure about our future. Having this feeling of certainty is a basic human need. We all like to feel in control, but people with cancer often feel that this has been taken away from them. Their future may feel uncertain and they may not know what is going to happen to them. They may even talk about feeling out of control because they’re going through an unpleasant situation.
You can help your relative or friend by simply acknowledging how difficult it must be to face this uncertainty. You could also help them by looking at some of the things they can still control. These may be small things, such as when to go out for a walk, what to have for a meal or what to watch on TV. Or it may be a big decision, such as whether to have chemotherapy or to ask for a second opinion about treatment.
The threat of death
Although many people with cancer can be cured, your loved one may have a fear of dying. This fear may always be there in the background but never talked about.
Even when people are cured, they often still worry that the cancer may come back. This fear may fade over time. But it’s important to allow your loved one a chance to talk about it. By simply listening, you can be a support to them.