cancer and their families are often distressed and confused about how
cancer will affect their lives and family relationships. Most people
think of cancer as something that happens to someone else. When your
diagnosis was made, you probably felt like you were in shock and that
your whole world had just turned upside down. These feelings of
anxiety, fear, sadness, and anger are a common reaction to any crisis.
Your family may also have similar reactions. No one comes into this
world knowing how to deal with serious illness; this is something that
must be learned. Everyone has different ways of coping. Those ways of
coping may be effective in dealing with a new diagnosis or you may
find that they don't work at all. Counseling can help you figure out
how you are going to cope with a new and frightening situation -- in
other words, how to get your life back on track.
It is often helpful to talk with a cancer counselor about how to talk
about your illness with family members, friends, and employers, and,
especially, how to organize family life around treatment and its side
effects. Talking with a counselor who is experienced about how other
families have coped with cancer may help you avoid problems. If you
wait until problems develop, they will be harder to overcome.
Counseling services are always confidential. Taking advantage of
counseling services at any point during treatment does not mean you
are a weak person who is unable to cope. It simply means you are
dealing with a new problem in a new way.
Frequently Asked Questions
National Cancer Institute