Monday 18 November 2019

Irish experts offer tips on how to cope with a cancer diagnosis

Pink ribbon for cancer
Pink ribbon for cancer
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

Somebody is told they have cancer every 15 minutes in Ireland. Dr Natalie Hession and Dr Margaret O'Rourke of the Psychological Society of Ireland have now compiled 10 tips on coping with a diagnosis. Here are a few of their suggestions.

Learn what you can do for your health now and about the services available to you and your loved ones. Asking your healthcare team what changes are anticipated or what to expect will help you prepare and give you a greater sense of control. This can be a balancing act - it is important to recognise how much information you can take in and to avoid feeling overwhelmed by all of the information available.

There is no 'right' way to cope with a possible life-threatening illness. You are the expert. Explore different ways and do what is right for you.

Don't expect emotions to progress along in neat stages. There will be many ups and downs where your needs and emotions may change on a day-to-day, or sometimes hour-to-hour, basis.

Talk to someone you trust. The diagnosis of cancer can be traumatic. It is normal to feel stress, anxiety, sadness, anger or a sense of a loss of control. Finding someone to talk to is important - someone you can trust and can help you sort through your thoughts and feelings. Being open when dealing with emotions helps many people feel less worried and enable them to enjoy each day.

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