Coping with diagnosis
When you are diagnosed with bowel cancer, you may have lots of thoughts, emotions and questions. It can feel like being on an emotional rollercoaster and things may feel uncertain when some of your future plans and life goals have changed.
People react to the news in different ways. With the right information and support, some people feel more confident about managing their emotions and continuing with aspects of their everyday life. There are lots of ways to get support and manage your emotions to help you feel more able to cope.
How you might feel
Everyone responds to their diagnosis differently. There is no right or wrong way to react. Some people are shocked and don’t know what to say and some people start to cry. Others get angry and scared or feel like they have no feelings at all. These feelings can be exhausting and at times difficult to manage.
They are all common reactions and usually change over time. Allowing yourself some time and space to take in what is happening can be helpful for some people. You may want to be on your own or you might find it helpful to be with someone you are close to such as your partner, family and friends, work colleagues or neighbours.
Not all emotions are negative. Some people feel relieved that they now know what is causing the symptoms and that they can start treatment and discuss options for the future.
Some people find that having a positive attitude helps them cope. You may feel pressure from other people to avoid appearing low or negative. It is hard to be positive all the time and it is ok if you don’t feel like this. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself, be kind and caring to yourself and ask for emotional support when needed.
Your healthcare team can refer you to lots of places so that you can get the right support for you.
- Ask your healthcare team to be referred for professional emotional support
- Join a support group. This could be online or face to face
- Contact other charities such as Macmillan Cancer Support, Cancer Research UK and Maggie’s
Some people find it helpful to speak to someone who understands what it is like to live with advanced bowel cancer. Our online community is a welcoming place for everyone affected by bowel cancer to ask questions, read about people’s experiences and support each other. Join at bowelcanceruk.org.uk/community