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Touched by Cancer – Now What?

Ask the Experts by staff of The Lake House

Q: Cancer has recently impacted my life. How do I begin to cope with this in a healthy way?


A: The first step to coping is to take a deep breath. The cancer diagnosis, treatment, and recovery process can be overwhelming. Patients and caregivers are responsible for being knowledgeable about their situation. That means asking your medical team a lot of questions, including what your doctor would do in your shoes. Consider seeking a second opinion, no matter how much you like your doctor, and find a nurse navigator or other medical advocates for guidance.


Survivors, from diagnosis onward, have many options for coping with the physical and emotional stress of cancer. Wellness activities, like exercise and meditation, can balance the body and mind, while support groups offer relief from feeling alone. Individual counseling is also recommended to help manage the emotions surrounding a cancer diagnosis. Caregivers, too, are encouraged to seek a support group or counseling to cope with the challenges of caring for a loved one. Most importantly, take the time to have fun. Social and creative activities, like crafting, writing, and visiting with friends, provide a much-needed outlet for stressful emotions.


Many people worry about saying the wrong thing” to someone who has cancer. Although there is no “right thing” to say, many survivors and caregivers dislike being told what they should or should not do or feel. Remember that everyone copes with cancer in his or her own unique way. To show support, ask the person or family what they need or want for help, and compassionately respect the needs and wants they express.


Submitted by The Lake House,

Written September 2015