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.

Staying positive

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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Margaret Hart
29th Nov 2018
Thanks for voting!
I would go straight to the Doctors for help. I have had complicated skin cancer and it terrified me but I got through. My friend who is 71 has got over breast cancer and now has a type of leukeamia and is extremely distraught. After her first treatment her heart got very near to failing so she has had to have another operation for that. We must be able to turn to health professionals and more than that good friends who must stand by them. It is a terrifying ordeal which can alter or end your life and anybody who is to properly recover needs people to depend on all the way through but not crushed by too many bad stories.
29th Nov 2018
Thanks for voting!
Just take your treatment and carry on as though nothing untoward is happening. That is as long as it is treatable and you are able to get to the treatment centre.
I was diagnosed six years ago now and I do not think about it, enjoy life to the full.
I see my McMillan Nurse every six months and that is the only time it comes to mind on my day to visit.

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