The impact of a diagnosis of cancer differs from person to
person. It is normal to experience anger, frustration, or disappointment. The
following home treatment may help you with your emotional reaction to a
diagnosis of cancer:
Get enough rest and sleep. During sleep, your
mind makes sense of what has happened to you. Adequate rest and sleep can help
prevent physical illness and exhaustion. Many times
simple home treatment can relieve your sleep problems.
Try activities to help you relax, such as
guided imagery. Do not use nonprescription medicines,
alcohol, or street drugs. Talk to your health professional if you are having
Eat well. Resist the urge not to eat or
to eat only those foods that comfort you. If you have trouble eating alone, ask
another person to join you for a snack or meal. If you do not have an appetite,
eat frequent small meals and snacks.
Exercise. If nothing else,
take a walk. Brisk walking and other forms of exercise, such as
tai chi and qi gong, can help release some of your pent-up emotions. One
study showed that regular exercise can improve a woman's chances of survival
from breast cancer.1
Allow yourself the opportunity to be comforted by familiar surroundings and
personal items that you value. Special items, such as photos or a loved one's
favorite shirt, may also give you comfort. Treat yourself to something you
enjoy, such as a
Maintain your normal activities.
Stay involved in activities that include your support network, such as your
family and friends, work, church, or community activities.
support you need. There are many different types of support programs, including
individual or group counseling and support groups. Some groups are formal and
focus on learning about cancer or dealing with feelings. Others are informal
and social. All types of support help you explore your feelings and develop
coping skills. Studies have found that people who take part in support groups
have an improved quality of life, get better quality sleep, and feel like
eating. Contact your local chapter of the American Cancer Society to help you
find a support group. Talking with other people who may have had similar
feelings can be very helpful.
To help you cope with your diagnosis and treatment:
Avoid quick fixes. Resist the urge to drink
alcohol, smoke cigarettes, or take nonprescription medicines or street drugs.
When you are under emotional stress, these may only add to your unpleasant
feelings and experiences and may mask your emotions and prevent you from
normal, necessary grieving.
Ask for help. During times of
emotional distress it is important to allow other people to take over some of
your responsibilities. Other people often feel the need to show you how much
they care about you.
Surround yourself with loved ones. You may
feel lonely and separate from other people when you are grieving. You may think
that no one else can understand the depth of your feelings. Surrounding
yourself with people that you love and talking about your feelings and concerns
may help you feel less lonely and more connected with others.
about your feelings. Discuss your concerns with your family and friends or your
doctor or nurse.
For more information, read "Talking Time: Support for People With Cancer" from the National Cancer Institute. You can find this booklet online at www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/takingtime.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.