Thursday, October 20, 2011

Learning You Have Cancer: Control & Self Esteem

When you first learn that you have cancer, you may feel as if your life is out of control. You may feel this way because:
  • you wonder if you will live or die
  • your daily routine is disrupted by doctor visits and treatments
  • people use medical words and terms that you don't understand
  • you feel like you can't do things you enjoy
  • you feel helpless
  • the health professionals treating you are strangers
Even though you may feel out of control, there are ways you can be in charge. For example, you can:
  • Learn as much as you can about your cancer. You can call 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237) or TTY (for deaf and hard of hearing callers) at 1-800-332-8615. You can also go online at and click on "Need Help?" at the lower left.
  • Ask questions. Let your health providers know when you don't understand what they are saying, or when you want more information about something..
  • Look beyond your cancer. Many people with cancer feel better when they stay busy. You may still go to work, even if you need to adjust your schedule. You can also take part in hobbies such as music, crafts, or reading.
As one woman with cancer commented,

"Once I started to feel better, I found myself looking for new outlets for creativity. I had always promised myself that some day I would take a photography course. Having a new hobby helped me feel better about other areas of my life as well."

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