- Cancer Information
- Advanced cancer
- Living with advanced cancer
- The emotional impact
- Ways to manage your emotions
Ways to manage your emotions
There are many simple things you can do to help you cope and feel more in control.
Join a support groupThere are face-to-face, internet and telephone support groups where people meet regularly to share their experiences. Learn more about support groups.
Connect onlineUse technology such as email, Facebook or a blog to stay in touch with family and friends. You can also visit the Cancer Council Online Community to connect with others in a similar situation.
Find out what to expectInformation can help you understand what to expect, and plan for changes. This may make you feel more secure.
Accept helpEven when your friends are genuinely willing to help, it can sometimes be hard to ask. It may be useful to have one friend or relative to coordinate offers of help and to update others on your progress. Online tools can help organise volunteers, e.g. gathermycrew.org.au.
Try complementary therapiesComplementary therapies, such as relaxation, meditation and massage, may improve coping, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve your mood. Learn more about complementary therapies.
Get help with how you’re feelingIf at any stage you feel overwhelmed, speak to your doctor, as counselling or medicine – even for a short time – may help. Your GP may also refer you to a psychologist. The organisation Beyond Blue has information about coping with depression and anxiety.
Find hope in other thingsFocus on the small things that are still possible, e.g. having a coffee with a friend or watching the garden bloom.
Draw on spiritualitySome people find meaning and comfort in their religion, faith and spiritual beliefs. Others may experience spirituality more generally. A cancer diagnosis can challenge the beliefs of some people. It may help to talk about your feelings with a spiritual care practitioner, religious leader or counsellor.
Prof Nicholas Glasgow, Head, Calvary Palliative and End of Life Care Research Institute, ACT; Kathryn Bennett, Nurse Practitioner, Eastern Palliative Care Association Inc., VIC; Dr Maria Ftanou, Head, Clinical Psychology, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, and Research Fellow, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, The University of Melbourne, VIC; Erin Ireland, Legal Counsel, Cancer Council NSW; Nikki Johnston, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner, Clare Holland House, Calvary Public Hospital Bruce, ACT; Judy Margolis, Consumer; Linda Nolte, Program Director, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kate Reed- Cox, Nurse Practitioner, National Clinical Advisor, Palliative Care Australia; Helena Rodi, Project Manager, Advance Care Planning Australia; Kaitlyn Thorne, Coordinator Cancer Support, 13 11 20, Cancer Council Queensland.
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Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
Coping with cancer?
Speak to a health professional or to someone who has been there, or find a support group or forum
Looking for transport, accommodation or home help?
Practical advice and support during and after treatment