Endorsed by the European Oncology Nursing Society

How can I prepare for my cancer test results?

How can I prepare for my cancer test results? image

Receiving or waiting for the results of your cancer tests is likely to be emotionally overwhelming. Here are some suggestions of how you can prepare for that moment:1

  • Find out when you can expect the results and how you will receive them; if the time you expect to receive them passes, you can check with your doctor to see where they are
  • Write down all the questions you have and take this list along with you when you see the doctor
  • Take someone along with you for emotional support and to act as another pair of ears; they may ask questions you have forgotten
  • Take notes of what is said during the appointment
  • Ask your doctor if it is all right to record the consultation so you can listen to it again later
  • Whatever the result, ask your doctor for a written report so that you can read this again later

It is impossible to know how you will react if the results show that you do have cancer,2 and there is no correct way to receive the news.1 Be prepared to expect any or a mixture of the following emotions:2

  • Shock
  • Disbelief
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • A sense of loss, for your normal life and your plans
  • Loneliness
  • Uncertainty about the future

You may find that it helps to do one or more of the following:

  • Talk to people who are experiencing what you are experiencing by joining a support group2 or contacting a helpline1
  • Talk to family and friends2
  • Talk to members of your healthcare team2

However frightened or lonely you may feel at this moment, there are people who can help you get through this difficult time.2



  1. NHS. Preparing for your cancer test results. Accessed March 2016.
  2. Macmillan. Cancer and your feelings. Accessed March 2016.