Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis

Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis

Although all women will experience some emotions after hearing they have been diagnosed with cancer, attitude is everything. Grieving is a normal part of the process, so feel free to grieve as needed. But, at a time you have to get ready to work through the grief.

I would like to offer a few suggestions to survivors and information to anyone who may have a cancer survivor in their life. Everyone processes being diagnosed with cancer in different ways, so be prepared to do what you need to do in order to get to an emotionally healthy place.

Suggestions for coping with a cancer diagnosis

  • I encourage survivors to own your own voice about your feelings. Regardless of what your feelings are, they are your feelings.
  • Try to share how you are feeling and know that you don’t need to be anything for the adult people around you.
  • Some women feel guilt because they aren’t able to do the things they once could do for their children, spouses, parents, at work and with others. They are often feel guilt because they have to stop working and finances can become an issue for the family. Some women diagnosed feel guilt because they are doing better than someone else diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Many women experience anger and want the people around them to make it better, although they may not know how others can help them feel better. Some of that anger may be the result of changes in their memories, physical functioning, and physical features.
  • Stay away from anyone from pity parties. You don’t need a pity party, you need support and not to be treated like your disease.
  • Don’t feel like you need to be a super advocate for the disease by wearing pink, teal, or purple everything, participate in every walk, talk, or support group. You shouldn’t lose who you are and become the disease. You are more than that.
  • Find your inspiration, that thing that gets you up in the morning.
  • Find your personal meaning in your life.
  • Embrace Spirituality.
    • Spirituality is considered to be a protective, positive coping: 1) Associated with psychological well-being and health, 2) Provide hope & purpose, lead to treatment compliance, 3) May slow cancer progression, and 4) May decrease anxiety that can compromise immune system.
    • The benefits of praying may include: 1)  Reducing stress and anxiety, and 2)  Promoting a more positive outlook and a stronger will to live.
    • In one study that measured spirituality in cancer patients, 92% showed mental health benefits, 4% showed neither a positive nor negative effect, and 4% showed harm. Spirituality was measured by participation in religious ceremony, social support, prayer, and belief in a higher being.
    • If spirituality and prayer are important to you, talk to your doctor about the role they play in your life. Knowing what’s important to you can help your doctor know how best to take care of you.