Coping with Cancer

Receiving a cancer diagnosis is extremely difficult and can often be some of the most frightening pieces of information a patient ever receives from his or her doctor. After a cancer diagnosis, patients seek out the best possible treatment to battle their disease. In addition to discovering the best treatment for their cancer, it is also important for patients to seek out the best coping mechanisms that will help them come to terms with their illness and the life changes that come along with it.

Cancer not only affects a patient’s physical health but also forces patients to make lifestyle changes and deal with a wide array of emotions. Finding the correct coping methods to deal with stress, fear, and other feelings that result from a cancer diagnosis is an essential part of conquering the disease.

Support Groups

Some cancer patients find it helpful to utilize local cancer support groups. Meeting with other cancer patients and survivors may instill feelings of hope and positivity in patients who feel fearful or powerless due to their disease. Additionally, support groups can be therapeutic and provide a safe space for patients to discuss their struggles with people who can similarly relate. Click here to find support groups in your area.


Effectively communicating with the people in your life, including your family and doctors, about your feelings and concerns during the treatment process can make coping easier. The more information you have from your doctors about your treatment, the more at peace you will feel about the process. Additionally, openly communicating with your loved ones will prevent you from becoming isolated by allowing those closest to you to provide support in the ways you need it most.

Unhealthy Coping Methods

It is important for both your physical health and mental well being to avoid unhealthy coping methods. Unhealthy coping methods include negativity and self-destructive behaviors such as alcohol or drug abuse, isolating yourself from family and loved ones, and having negative thoughts about the outcome of your disease. Coping with cancer is undoubtedly a difficult task, but with the proper coping mechanisms it is possible to come to terms with the diagnosis and begin to successfully fight the disease.


Jaime Venditti, State Coordinator, New York Health Works