Coping with Lung Cancer

It does not come as a surprise that a diagnosis of lung cancer can negatively affect your mental and emotional health. This text might help you to cope with your feelings – because it’s important for your recovery to take care of your emotional health as well.


Anne Jäkel

Roland Schäfli


About Taking Care of Your Emotional Health

You may feel depressed, shocked, worried, and even panicking when you receive a lung cancer diagnosis. Based on the severity of your illness, the course of the therapy, and the circumstances and your personality, your reaction to the lung cancer diagnosis might differ widely. Experiencing a range of emotions as a result of being diagnosed with cancer is a common occurrence. You might experience numbness, disbelief, anger, intense grief, rage, shame, and emotions of helplessness and even terror.

Helpful Relaxation Methods

It is possible that you will feel as if you have nothing else to think about during the initial stages of lung cancer treatment. Your sleep may be disrupted, and you may have high levels of anxiety. Crying is a very normal and understandable emotion. It is beneficial to cry in order to avoid piling up your concerns and worries. Learning a relaxation method can also be beneficial since it can assist you in detaching your attention from your concerns. Relaxing the muscles in your body might allow you to relax your thoughts.

Anger is a Normal Reaction

When a person is diagnosed with lung cancer, it is very common to experience anger. You could be enraged for a variety of reasons, for example with the tobacco industry, your doctor, or the sight of other people smoking in public places. The inability to communicate effectively with your healthcare team or family might also evoke feelings of rage. Make sure to seek assistance from your healthcare team in locating options that can help you in dealing with your anger. You can also learn to moderate your reactions to stressful situations.

Distractions are Useful

Some individuals are willing to open up and communicate, while others prefer to remain silent and figure things out on their own. You should never be ashamed of not “doing things correctly.” Some people feel that distraction is a useful tactic and that activities such as reading, watching a movie, or going out to eat may help them deal with the situation. If you find it difficult to do this task on your own, speak to your family and friends about your plans and ask them to assist you.

Don’t Stop Doing Things You Like

The emotional, social, and spiritual consequences of lung cancer might often seem insurmountably difficult to deal with. It’s possible that you’ve lost interest in things that used to bring you joy in your previous life. The presence of negative attitudes and beliefs regarding one’s health might be tough. A good strategy to deal with this is to keep yourself active in things that you find enjoyable and that provide you with a feeling of well-being. If you feel that your emotions and anxieties are interfering significantly with your daily activities, ask your healthcare team to connect you to specialists who may be able to assist you.

Share Your Experiences

Knowing what to expect is made easier with information. Information on your type of cancer and its treatment can support you in coping with it and making decisions about your treatment.

It might be comforting to know that you are not alone. Discovering someone with whom you can share your experiences and express your sentiments might be a good idea. Some people can do this with close friends and family, while others benefit from chatting one-on-one with a therapist or counselor, or from participating in a cancer support group, among other options. Speaking with your friends and family members about your disease may be extremely beneficial and supportive. If your family or friends are unwilling to talk about it, it might cause tension in your relationship with them. Allow your family and friends to know whether you would want to talk about what is happening and how you are feeling in order to support you.

Impact on Your Self-image

Physical changes in your body are likely to occur as a result of cancer and its therapies. It is possible that these bodily changes will have an impact on your self-image. You may be experiencing symptoms such as a cough or shortness of breath. This may cause you to feel uneasy.

Changes in your physical appearance, such as weight loss and hair loss, can have an impact on your self-esteem and how you interact with others. Your nutritionist can assist you with any weight reduction concerns you may have. Your nurse can assist you in exploring options for dealing with hair loss. While undergoing treatment and for several months later, it is not uncommon to feel exhausted and sluggish for long periods of time.

Lung cancer surgery might result in scars, and you may have discomfort following the procedure. If you are experiencing pain, speak with your doctor or nurse. There are many things they can do to support you, such as altering your pain medications or assisting you with relaxation methods.

Feeling Guilt About Smoking

There is a widespread belief among the general public that lung cancer is a result of poor lifestyle choices, and that as a result of their poor choices, they deserve to be sick. As a result of the stigma attached to lung cancer, people with the disease suffer from discomfort and poor outcomes. Further, lung cancer survivors who are smokers or former smokers are sometimes burdened with additional guilt. As a smoker, you are at an increased risk of developing a variety of health problems, you are less likely to heal properly, and you are more likely to develop second cancer. Even if you have already been diagnosed with lung cancer, quitting smoking has several benefits.

How will family members and friends cope with your lung cancer diagnosis?

It is critical to express yourself honestly and freely to those who can help you cope with your thoughts and concerns. Please keep in mind that any fears or anxiety you are having may be reflected in your family and close friend, experiencing the same feelings as you.

It is possible to connect with others through support groups and cancer centers in your community. There are also online forums and hotline services that you may use for additional assistance.

Visit the Family and Caregivers page on our website to find more information that can be helpful for your loved ones.


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