Feelings associated with a cancer diagnosis: How can you help a loved one?


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You cannot define the age limit to when a person might develop cancer. It can develop at any age. With time, your body’s cells get damaged for several reasons, from biological changes to environmental factors. The damaged cells sometimes begin to grow and multiply more than usual in the body, causing cancer. 

As you age, different types of cancer become more common due to the accumulation of damaged cells. As you get older, your immune system is affected, eradicating cells that might become cancerous. The link between cancer and age varies depending on the type of cancer.

For instance, leukemia is the most common cancer found in kids aged 14. Common types of cancer found under the age of 50 include breast cancer and melanoma. Cancer could be fatal due to tumors affecting organ functions. Cancerous cells can always break off from the primary place of origin to form tumors in another area inside the body. 

Complications due to malnutrition, weakened immune system, and poor organ function increases tumor death risk. However, there are ways to slow down the aging process, including following a wholesome diet, maintaining an exercise routine, and treating chronic inflammations. These measures will reduce the risk of cancer.  

Mesothelioma, lung, and pancreatic cancer are deadly cancer types that impact the patient physically and emotionally. Detecting and treating cancer at an early stage is vital for a healthy life. Staying physically active and maintaining a wholesome diet are ways to reduce the risk of developing cancer.

Feelings associated with a cancer diagnosis

Irrespective of the stage of cancer diagnosis, you feel different emotions like sadness, anger and disbelief. Cancer causes a series of changes including, health changes, loss of independence, and inability to perform daily tasks. It takes time to understand and get accustomed to the daily life changes. 

Your mental health plays a massive role during these emotionally difficult times. For some people, their experience after a cancer diagnosis should include not losing hope and finding the motivation to face the challenges ahead.

Some feelings associated with a cancer diagnosis include.


One of the first reactions to a cancer diagnosis is a shock that gradually turns into disbelief. You may feel as if you are not feeling any emotion. It takes time to adjust to these feelings. Every person has a way of accepting the new reality.

The feelings of disbelief decrease with time, and some come to terms with the diagnosis. In contrast, others find it hard to comprehend the life-changing event. Discussing your views with the cancer specialist or a friend will help you make sense of your feelings.      


The fear of death is a familiar feeling most people experience after a cancer diagnosis. Even though cancer treatments have improved over the years, it is still frightening to hear the word ‘cancer.’ 

Because of the side effects of treatment, it is natural to worry about your health and future.  

Fear manifests into anxiety when people cannot cope with their emotions. It impacts mood and behavior. 


‘Why me?’ is a common question that comes to the mind of every patient diagnosed with cancer. You feel angry towards loved ones, healthcare professionals, and sometimes even God. It is not healthy to keep all your feelings inside. Talking to a loved one or counselor could help you cope with feelings of anger. 

You can also take steps to figure out your feelings by working out why cancer started. Anger expressed in healthy ways produces positive outcomes. It includes engaging in physical activity, evaluating underlying reasons for anger, or discussing your feelings with a trusted friend or family member.


Sadness is a natural response after a cancer diagnosis. It usually stems from the way cancer changes your whole life.  These feelings transform into depression if you do not seek help immediately. 

It is hard to do things that give you joy; however, talking to a friend or a loved one will help you feel in control. Research has shown that physical activity relaxes the mind and body before and after the treatment. Maintaining a well-balanced diet will keep you healthy and energized.   

How can you help a loved one battle Cancer? 

After learning that your loved one or friend is diagnosed with cancer, your first instinct is to help them in any way possible. Emotional support for cancer patients is critical in their journey. 

You cannot change the circumstances of those struggling with cancer; however, you can make a huge difference in their lives. If you want to support a loved one, colleague, or friend in their difficult time, here are some tips:

Help with daily tasks

One of the first things cancer changes about your life is the inability to do daily tasks. It is difficult for cancer patients to ask for help. You can offer to assist with everyday errands, from grocery shopping to doing laundry. 

It is best to remind the patient that you are there for help. Helping patients with bathing and grooming will positively impact their well-being. 

Listen Carefully 

One way to help cancer patients is to listen to them. Providing a listening ear will make things easier for them. It is vital to let your loved ones express their feelings. It will help them understand and deal with the circumstances. 

Contrary to popular belief, having a positive mindset does not influence the survival rate. Every emotion is valuable. Make sure your loved one has your full attention. 

Go to Appointments

Accompanying your loved one on a visit to the doctor is a way to express that you are there for them. It will help the patient overcome their fears, and you can also get answers to questions regarding cancer diagnosis and treatment options. 

You should ensure that your loved ones make the decisions regarding their health in the end.      

Final thoughts

Regardless of age, there is always a possibility that you might develop cancer. Accumulation of damaged cells over time in the body increases the risk. Apart from age, other risk factors include environmental factors or poor diet. A cancer diagnosis will cause you to experience various emotions. It may take some time to understand the physical changes and make sense of your feelings. 

Anger, sadness, and disbelief are emotions that a person diagnosed with cancer experiences. Offering help with the daily task of simply lending an ear to your loved one in their difficult time will make things easier for them. Your support will play a huge role in their new journey. 

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