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Psychosocial and Emotional Challenges

A cancer diagnosis is not easy to digest. You may be overwhelmed with emotions that are hard to comprehend at that time.

Acknowledging these emotions will lead you to the process of healing. Understanding these emotions will help you to navigate them effectively, as you manage yourself from day to day.

Below are some feelings you may experience and advices you may find helpful:

Shock
Refusing to accept the reality of your diagnosis, or being seemingly unable to respond to your cancer at the initial stage is normal. Shock is a mechanism whereby your body system reacts to a situation that you cannot comprehend due to its unexpectedness.

Sometimes, people around you may think that your reaction is less than normal. You are most likely caught in the process of trying to absorb the information that has just been conveyed and may possibly be uncertain of the right way to feel at the moment. As you move on, the feeling of shock will dissipate.

From there, you will find ways to identify your feelings and in the process, also discover how to cope with other emotions that may arise along your treatment journey.
 

Fear
Fear is inevitable for any person diagnosed with cancer.

This is largely due to the stigma attached to the word “cancer”. Many still see it as a dangerous disease. Nonetheless, with the advancements in cancer care and treatment, this stigma is quickly becoming a myth.

It is reasonable to feel frightened because you are entering into treatment for the first time and do not know what to expect. You may be pushed outside of your comfort zone as you are about to experience new changes in your life.

Acknowledging this fear will help you keep it under control, and put you in a better position to manage the disease.

Anger
Perhaps there are times you feel confused and frustrated knowing that there is no specific cause to the cancer. It is your ‘right’ to own this anger; however, it is also important to be mindful that you are managing this frustration and confusion in a healthy way, while not causing harm to yourself or others.

Some useful tips include: deep breathing and relaxation techniques, talking to a trusted friend and taking long strolls in a scenic area. [See also 10 Tips for Coping with Cancer for more ideas]

Sadness
It is natural for you to feel sad about your situation. It is in fact, one of the pivotal stages you will go through in the process of healing your emotions.

However, do be mindful if you find yourself losing interest from the activities that you used to enjoy or are isolating yourself for more than two weeks. At this juncture, active remedies are needed to uplift your spirits.

Take your time to discover the best ways for you to release the sadness. Some effective ways of working through your feelings are listening to music, keeping a journal and being creative with artwork. Surround yourself with supportive friends and family members and empower yourself with knowledge on positive psychology.