Diagnosed with cancer? – How do you cope?
Having just received a cancer diagnosis is completely overwhelming and you are undoubtedly struggling with a whole host of mixed emotions.
Evelyn Wallace, Cancer Care Operations Manager at AXA PPP healthcare says that the shock of hearing a cancer diagnosis leaves a person feeling it’s unreal and they can’t immediately come to terms with it. As the shock eases, generally after 48 hours, patients start to want advice. They want to know their treatment options and want to make decisions about their care. It is important to do this as routine and structure is reassuring and tends to normalise what a patient is going through.
Things you can do to help yourself
There are a number of measures you can take to help you cope says Evelyn:
- You may want to set some simple, achievable goals such as arranging short visits or outings with friends when you’re feeling able – for example during the last week in your cycle of treatment
- Getting out in the fresh air and simple exercise can really benefit, even if it’s just a brisk short walk
- Managing stress related to your cancer through relaxation is important so a yoga class or a massage may really help.
- Loneliness is a real issue too – many find help by simply talking to family and friends or others who have been through something similar.
Where can you go for help?
Those with cancer, along with members of their family and friends can access a number of different services:
- Talking with others who are dealing with the same issues can be comforting. There are over 900 independent support groups in the UK which are endorsed by Macmillan.
- Macmillan and Cancer Research UK have free online forums where you, your family and friends can benefit by connecting with others
- Many areas have free support services which offer complementary therapies that help to increase your sense of wellbeing. These range from massage, teaching ways to relax and acupuncture. Your doctor or cancer nurse will help you to find what is local to you.
- Someone to help – There are helpers through Marie Curie that you may be able to access who could help with lifts, run small errands or just give your carer a break for a few hours.
- If you need help with childcare then do speak with your local council’s Family Information Service as they may be able to help.
- There may be volunteer transport services in your area to help you get to hospital appointments. You can find about these from your local support group or cancer nurse.
Everyone is different and deals with crises in their own way, says Evelyn. Being positive and thinking positively can help you deal with cancer and you must find your own way to cope that is right for you. Try and be hopeful instead of thinking the worst. However, it’s natural to feel upset and frightened sometimes too and it’s okay to have a bad day.
For more information visit the AXA PPP healthcare Cancer Centre.
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