When you are first diagnosed

People often describe the first weeks after a cancer diagnosis as a rollercoaster or whirlwind. Learning that you have a serious disease can be a shock and you may worry about what it means for your way of life now and in the future.

You will probably need to make many decisions – for example, what treatment to have, where to have the treatment, how to tell family and friends, how to make sure children are looked after, whether to keep working and how to manage financially. It is natural to feel overwhelmed at times, but finding reliable information and the right kinds of support can help.

Information you may need after diagnosis

  • Contact Cancer Council’s support services for counselling, peer support, support groups, legal and financial assistance, practical support, and information in other languages. Call us on 13 11 20 | Mon–Fri | 9am–5pm, or leave a message and one of our specialist health professionals will contact you on the next business day.    
  • Peer to peer support: Chat online with other people who have gone through similar experiences with cancer.
  • Information resources: Gateway to Cancer Council’s extensive information resources, which cover more than 30 types of cancer, every stage, and all key aspects of living with cancer. Our glossary explains cancer terms in everyday language. 
  • Coping with your emotions: Common reactions to a cancer diagnosis, the impact of physical symptoms on your emotions, tools to help you cope, and how to tell other people about the diagnosis. 
  • Telling the kids: How to explain a cancer diagnosis to children and teenagers, common questions that children have, and what reactions to expect from different ages.
  • Managing work: What to do about work after a cancer diagnosis, whether you should tell your employer, and what sort of workplace support you can expect.
  • Understanding your rights as a patient: What you can expect from your health care team, how to make decisions about cancer care, and accessing your medical records.
  • Dealing with the financial impact: How to cope when cancer changes your financial plans, including ways to reduce your expenses and ways to find other income.

Listen to our podcasts on Coping with a Cancer Diagnosis and Making Treatment Decisions