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2. Dealing with the emotional impact of your diagnosis

Being given a diagnosis of cancer comes as a shock to most people. It can be upsetting and takes time to sink in. It’s common for people to wonder “Why me?” and feel as though their world has been blown apart, feel angry, sad, helpless and concerned about the future. It’s useful to remember that it’s not your fault – it’s rarely possible to determine the exact cause of cancer. It’s also good to know that most cancers can be treated and that more than half the people who are diagnosed with cancer will survive. However, you should be prepared for some significant changes to your plans and challenges in the months ahead.

Being given a diagnosis of cancer is a big blow. While maintaining hope for the future is helpful, feeling as though you always need to be positive or the perfect patient can be an additional burden.

While it’s helpful to think realistically about what is going on, despite what many well-meaning people will tell you, it’s okay not to feel and act positively all of the time. Be gentle on yourself. There’s no need to feel guilty if you’re upset. It’s a normal response.

For more detailed information on how to deal with a range of difficult emotions that are often associated with a cancer diagnosis, click here.

If you’re feeling very distressed at any time of the day or night, phone the Rural and Remote Mental Health Service, phone 13 14 65 to speak to trained counsellors/mental health experts.