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Chemotherapy and You: Support for People With Cancer

  • Posted: 06/29/2007

Your Feelings During Chemotherapy

At some point during chemotherapy, you may feel:

  • Anxious
  • Depressed
  • Afraid
  • Angry
  • Frustrated
  • Helpless
  • Lonely

It is normal to have a wide range of feelings while going through chemotherapy. After all, living with cancer and getting treatment can be stressful. You may also feel fatigue, which can make it harder to cope with your feelings.

How can I cope with my feelings during chemotherapy?

  • Relax. Find some quiet time and think of yourself in a favorite place. Breathe slowly or listen to soothing music. This may help you feel calmer and less stressed.
  • Exercise. Many people find that light exercise helps them feel better. There are many ways for you to exercise, such as walking, riding a bike, and doing yoga. Talk with your doctor or nurse about ways you can exercise.
  • Talk with others. Talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Choose someone who can focus on you, such as a close friend, family member, chaplain, nurse, or social worker. You may also find it helpful to talk with someone else who is getting chemotherapy.
  • Join a support group. Cancer support groups provide support for people with cancer. These groups allow you to meet others with the same problems. You will have a chance to talk about your feelings and listen to other people talk about theirs. You can find out how others cope with cancer, chemotherapy, and side effects. Your doctor, nurse, or social worker may know about support groups near where you live. Some support groups also meet online (over the Internet), which can be helpful if you cannot travel.

Talk to your doctor or nurse about things that worry or upset you. You may want to ask about seeing a counselor. Your doctor may also suggest that you take medication if you find it very hard to cope with your feelings.

It is normal to have a wide range of feelings while going through chemotherapy. After all, living with cancer and getting treatment can be stressful.

Ways to Learn More

To learn more about coping with your feelings and relationships during cancer treatment, read Taking Time: Support for People With Cancer, a book from the National Cancer Institute. You can get a free copy at https://pubs.cancer.gov/ncipl or 1-800-4-CANCER.

National Cancer Institute

Cancer Information Service

Toll-free:1-8004-CANCER
(1-800-422-6237)
Online:www.cancer.gov
Chat online:www.cancer.gov/help

CancerCare, Inc.

Offers free support, information, financial assistance, and practical help to people with cancer and their loved ones.

Toll-free:1-800-813-HOPE (1-800-813-4673)
E-mail:info@cancercare.org
Online:www.cancercare.org

The Wellness Community

Provides free psychological and emotional support to people with cancer and their families.

Toll-free:1-888-793-WELL (1-888-793-9355)
Phone:202-659-9709
E-mail:help@thewellnesscommunity.org
Online:www.thewellnesscommunity.org