Cancer support services

Living with cancer

You may experience feelings of grief, anger, hopelessness and despair when you are diagnosed with cancer. 

Dealing with cancer can be a distressing period for you, your partner and other family members. 

Emotional challenges

You may also experience different emotions at different parts of the cancer journey and not everyone will feel the same. 

Feelings of depression or high levels of anxiety are common in people with cancer. 

It is normal to feel isolated and become withdrawn, as many people may find it difficult to talk about their feelings. Emotional challenges may arise anywhere in the cancer journey or even afterwards. 

This may be due to the fact that some people haven't really had the chance to reflect on what has happened.

Some people accept the fact that they have cancer immediately after diagnosis while for others it may take a bit longer. It is important to remember that there are no right or wrong emotions or ways to deal with your feelings.

Talking to someone who understands the emotional challenges that you are facing is often helpful. 

Psychological challenges

The thought of living with cancer will often change the way people feel about themselves and see their place in the world. 

It may also affect the way you relate to other people in your life. It may put strain on your relationships.

You may have difficulty:

  • telling friends, family and work colleagues that you have cancer
  • establishing new relationships and knowing when to tell a prospective partner you have cancer
  • coming to terms with changes to the way you look and feel after surgery or treatment, such as weight loss, hair loss or body scarring - this can affect the way you interact with people socially and sexually.

Support for a person living with cancer

You can call the Cancer Council support service for confidential information over the phone at the cost of a local call. Any one can call the support line - cancer patients, people living with cancer, families, carers and friends, teachers, students and healthcare professionals.

Call the Cancer Council support line on 13 11 20.

Getting back to a healthy lifestyle after cancer is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Cancer Council's Healthy Living After Cancer program offers free health coaching over the phone with experienced cancer nurses. For more information go to the Cancer Council NT website.

You can also get emotional support from the Leukaemia Foundation.

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Last updated: 27 June 2017