Coping With Cancer - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Published on May 05, 2014

Coping With Cancer

Finding out you have cancer is one of the most life-changing moments a person can experience. During this time, your head might be filled with all kinds of questions and emotions—from concerns over health insurance coverage to how it will impact your quality of life, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed.

Physician and patient consultation

Learning effective coping mechanisms when you are
diagnosed with cancer can help you reduce stress.

However, knowing what to expect and planning how you’ll get through the next steps can help reduce your stress and allow you to manage in the days ahead.

One of the Best Ways to Get Started?

Getting as many facts about your diagnosis as possible. Before meeting with the various members of your healthcare team, write down any questions you might have and bring them with you. Questions to ask your team include the type of cancer you have, whether or not it has spread, treatment options, tests or other procedures that may need to be performed, as well as what to expect from them. It might help to bring a family member or close friend along as well.  

Once you decide on a specific treatment plan, be sure to ask your healthcare team what type of physical and emotional changes you may experience. For instance, hair loss and weight loss or gain can be difficult side effects; however, your healthcare team or a cancer support group might suggest ways to compensate for these changes, including wigs and makeup and nutrition tips. Planning ahead will give you the opportunity to feel in control of the situations and help you to cope with changes from treatments.

Cope with Side Effects

Since the side effects of treatment can cause fatigue and stress, it’s important for patients with cancer to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy and balanced diet, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly are great ways to get through this time. But as you live healthier, also be sure to engage in activities you’ve always enjoyed. Maintaining a normal lifestyle as much as possible is important, especially since life can seem uncertain and chaotic.

Communicate with Care Team, Loved Ones and Others with Cancer

Additionally, it’s important to continue communicating with not only your healthcare team, but your loved ones as well. By doing so, it’ll help you and your family and friends support one another during this difficult time. Withholding information from others often causes people to feel isolated when they really need a strong support system.

And if friends and family offer to help, don’t be afraid to accept it. By allowing them to prepare meals, help around the house, and run errands, everyone benefits. It’ll relieve some of your daily responsibilities and stress and give friends and family an opportunity to assist you at a time when they might feel helpless.

In addition to friends, family, and your healthcare team, talking to others with cancer might be helpful as well. By connecting with a support group at a nearby hospital or a local chapter of the American Cancer Society, you can talk with those who understand exactly how you’re feeling and gain insight on what to expect down the road.

Alternative Coping Mechanisms

While hearing about others’ experiences with cancer can be valuable, don’t hesitate to develop your own coping strategy. Whether this includes practicing relaxation techniques such as yoga or tai chi, keeping a journal, or seeking spiritual guidance, it’s important to look to old and new comforts to help ease your mind. 

Crozer-Keystone Is Here to Help

For more information on how to cope with a recent cancer diagnosis, be sure to speak with your healthcare team. For more information about Crozer-Keystone Health System Cancer Services, visit You can also call 1-866-695-HOPE (4673) to request an appointment with a physician who cares for cancer patients.

Crozer-Keystone Cancer Survivors Day Celebration

Anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer, along with his or her family members, is invited to attend this special event at the Springfield Country Club (400 West Sproul Road, Springfield) on Monday, June 16 at 6 p.m.

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