Tools for coping

A coping toolbox is a set of strategies or “tools” you can use to help you cope with a cancer diagnosis and treatment. Each person’s toolbox will look different, but it’s useful to consider a range of strategies. Some of these are ways to solve particular problems; others aim to enhance your general wellbeing during this stressful time.

Find out what to expect

Information about the diagnosis and treatments can help you make decisions and plan ahead, and may make you feel more secure. 

Seek support

Share your concerns with a family member or friend, or with your general practitioner (GP), nurse, social worker or psychologist. Other options include calling Cancer Council 13 11 20, visiting the Online Community, or joining a support group. Accepting help with practical tasks such as shopping or housework may also make it easier to cope. Find more sources of support.

Eat and drink well

Eating healthy food and drinking plenty of water will help your body cope with physical and emotional stress, but this can be challenging when you are feeling unwell. Talk to a dietitian and see Nutrition and cancer for tips.

Be active

Research has shown that regular physical activity can help with feelings of anger, stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help manage fatigue and improve sleep. Even a short daily walk offers benefits. See Exercise for people living with cancer.

Take a break

Make time each day just for relaxation and enjoyment. Think about things that help you to relax and feel good, such as listening to music, reading, taking a bath or having a massage. Keeping in touch with the world through work, hobbies, or time with family and friends may help you see a life outside of cancer and provide a break from your worries.

Sort out issues

A cancer diagnosis can cause or add to financial problems, work-related issues, accommodation difficulties, relationship concerns and family stresses. There is support available – talk to the hospital social worker or call Cancer Council 13 11 20.

Clear your mind

Complementary therapies, such as relaxation, yoga and counselling, may increase your sense of control, decrease stress and anxiety, and improve mood.

Draw on spirituality

Some people find meaning and comfort from their 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 or religious leader.

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on emotions and cancer

Printed copies are available for free - Call 13 11 20 to order

Instructions for downloading and reading EPUB files

Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
  • copy EPUB files into DropBox (or a similar service) and use the DropBox app to send them to iBooks.
  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit:


To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit:

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit:

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.

This information was last reviewed in January 2019
View who reviewed this content
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Support services

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

Cancer information

Exercise during cancer
Exercise helps most people during cancer treatment. Find out which exercises are best for you, and watch our series of exercise videos

Relaxation and meditation
Learn how relaxation and mediation can help you both during and after cancer treatment, or listen to our relaxation and mediation 
audio tracks