Emotions of Cancer

Cancer and Guilt

Guilt is a common emotion experienced by people on their cancer journey. Guilt is the often overwhelming feeling of blame on a situation that may or may not be within your control. For those with cancer, your guilt may arise from any of the following:

  • You should have seen symptoms and contacted the doctor sooner
  • The hardship your cancer will bring on your family and friends
  • Your body is not responding to treatment
  • The financial burdens of cancer
  • Survivor’s guilt
  • Your lifestyle habits before your cancer diagnosis that may have led to cancer

It is also very common for family and friends of the patient with cancer to experience guilt. This can occur because:

  • They are healthy
  • They cannot offer more help
  • They cannot make their loved one better
  • They are having a difficult time coping with the diagnosis

While guilt is natural, it is unhealthy to hold on to guilt. In situations such as cancer, guilt is often difficult to let go, and this can lead to worsening conditions such as depression. While depression is common, especially among those living with cancer, it is a serious condition that requires intervention.

How to let go of guilt

It is important to let go of your guilt and move past it, but it can be difficult. Try the following to begin the process of letting go:

  • Remember that this is no one’s fault. Let go of any mistakes that you have made in the past and look towards the future.
  • Guilt may not leave, and it will likely change over the course of your journey. Try not to push it away, but work through your feelings.
  • Talk. Talk through your feelings with a loved one or a professional to help deal with your emotions.
  • Find support. Support groups can be beneficial as they show that you are not alone, and you are likely to meet people on the same journey, or those who have conquered the journey of cancer.
  • Be grateful. Focus on the positive. Do things that make you happy.
  • Find activities that help you express your emotions such as creative.