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Adjusting to Cancer

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When you first learn you have cancer, everything seems to change in an instant. You may feel like your life has been turned upside down. Once the shock wears off, the process of making changes begins. You may have to:

  • rearrange tasks and routines in your life as you start treatment
  • deal with symptoms and side effects that affect both your body and your emotions
  • learn new ways of talking to your loved ones and to your health care team
  • ask a lot of questions on how to adjust to all the new issues that cancer brings

It can seem overwhelming at first, but knowing what to expect may help you feel more at ease. The sections below have tips to help you deal with these changes. See our caregiver section for other tips that may help your loved ones cope during this time.

Talking with Your Health Care Team
Tips to make it easier to talk with your doctors and learn about cancer and your treatment.

Changes for the Family
Information that addresses family changes for people with cancer.

Facing Cancer with Your Spouse or Partner
Practical and supportive information to help you face cancer with your spouse or partner. Includes tips to help improve communication.

Talking to Children
Information to help you talk to your kids, teens, and adult children about cancer.

Support Groups
Information explaining the types of support groups, the benefits of joining a support group, and where to find one.

Supportive and Palliative Care PDQ®

Find evidence-based information, in both patient and health professional formats, to help you adjust to emotional and physical changes caused by cancer.