Emotions of Cancer

Emotions of Cancer

Coping With Cancer


How Do You Cope With Cancer?

When you first hear that you’ve been diagnosed with cancer it may feel as if your world has been ripped out from beneath you. You may experience an array of feelings and emotions in a way that you have never felt before.

Some people dealing with cancer may feel a pressure to emotionally support their families or to continue their work and life activities just as they normally would, and while this may help some patients to deal with the changes they are experiencing, it could also end up putting too much pressure on the patient’s well being.

For some people coping with cancer, it may feel as if they cannot go on with their life as it was before the diagnosis. Regardless of how you feel, coping with cancer is an entirely personal experience, and if you are healthily processing your feelings, do what works best for you when coping with cancer.

What are the emotional stages of cancer?

Dealing with cancer emotionally in a healthy way is a different experience for every patient. No one can tell you how to behave, as no one knows exactly how the cancer treatment is affecting you both physically and mentally.

There are several common emotional stages that people diagnosed with cancer may experience. As with everything, these stages are not strict, and not every patient will experience all of these emotions.

At times like this, it can be helpful to some patients to connect with someone who may understand better than their support networks, like cancer survivors or other cancer sufferers to share information, experiences, and feelings.

Some of the common emotions that people may find that they experience following their cancer diagnosis could include:

Again, there is no right or wrong order in which to experience these emotions, and there is no shame in feeling any of them.

What Are The Five Most Common Coping Strategies That Have Been Identified For Cancer Patients?

The most common coping strategies that have been identified may vary between studies, however, several commonalities have been shared when discussing coping strategies with cancer survivors, members within a cancer society, and on the National Cancer Institute website.

Quite often, people with cancer turn to one or more of the following five coping strategies:


This could include turning to your faith or finding religion for the first time – many people coping with cancer turn towards a higher being in the face of uncertainty.


Acceptance may be a harder strategy for some people with cancer to cope with initially or even at all. Those who have accepted their life and diagnosis may find that they are relieved to embrace this new journey with a positive mindset.


Self-distraction can come in a large range of forms, anything from exercise, to learning a new skill, to working, to adopting a dog, to learning to draw or sing or paint, reading, meditating – these are all excellent and healthy methods for cancer coping. When self-distracting, it is important to ensure that whatever you do, does not interfere with your treatment plan or enhance the side effects of the cancer and your treatments.


Planning can be a positive action for coping with cancer, by building up your information base, talking to other people with cancer, cancer survivors, and/or a cancer society. Some cancer patients have found that they feel better equipped for planning out their future journey, fighting cancer, and working their way back towards the closest thing to normalcy as possible. It is important to remember here that everyone’s journey is different, and you should not base your cancer journey on someone else’s.

Positive re-framing

Positive re-framing may be accomplished through the acceptance of your cancer diagnosis and the notion that living with cancer may not be an entirely negative experience. Those with a positive re-framing mindset may consider their cancer diagnosis as a blessing in disguise, allowing them to spend more time focusing on their health and well-being, as a time to spend with loved ones, or as a time to reset their life.

How Do You Live With Cancer?

The question of how long will you have to live with cancer is a difficult one to answer. Treatment methods and success rates are as unique as the people experiencing them. Those who have to deal with cancer daily may find that it has taken over their life; the way people communicate with them, how they conduct simple things, and how they schedule their lives around treatment regimes, this all has an impact on the day to day life of someone coping with cancer.

How long will you have to live with cancer? This cannot be answered in any simple terms and is a conversation that you can only have with your oncology team. With a solid treatment plan and plenty of information on their side, patients and their families may feel better prepared with the cancer diagnosis and the future that is now set out ahead of them.