It’s natural to be anxious when your world is suddenly shaken up by a cancer diagnosis and your future looks uncertain.
To calm anxiety upon diagnosis:
- While there is usually SO much information to take in at first, it is worth writing down as much as you can remember from the first meeting. Keep a notebook handy so that you can scribble down anything that comes to mind and ask about anything that confuses you at your next consultation.
- Find out as much information as you can so that you know where you stand…
- …BUT don’t Google anything! Remember that each case is individual and that your story will not be the same as anyone else’s.
To calm anxiety throughout treatment:
- If you haven’t been seen for a while or are concerned about anything, call the hospital and let them know – they’ll be able to give you the best advice as they have your notes and will know you personally.
- Write down your worries, scream them on a beach (preferably empty!) or confide in someone – anything to get them out of your head.
- Breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth when you’re feeling particularly stressed.
- Try out meditation techniques – even 10 minutes a day of meditation can make a real difference. Use apps like Headspace or Calm to find daily sessions or courses that you can follow.
- If you can, have a relaxing bath with your favourite music or TV show on your iPad (I’m a sucker for reality TV!) – it really can help you to chill out.
- Find some relaxing stretches to do on YouTube or the Fiit app – it can help you to be more in touch with your body & relax your mind at the same time.
- If you’re really struggling with your anxiety, there are therapists, helplines and doctors available to help you – don’t worry in silence. Let your consultant or nurse know & they can put you in touch with a specialist.
Here a few helplines to call if you’re finding it hard to manage your cancer anxiety:
Cancer Research UK – 0808 800 4040
Macmillan Support Line – 0808 808 00 00
American Cancer Society – 1-800-227-2345