Endorsed by the European Oncology Nursing Society

Other people feel the way you do

Other people feel the way you do  image

When you are diagnosed with cancer, you may feel a lot of different and complicated emotions.1 You may feel lonely, but many other people with cancer feel the same way as you do.

Did you know that:

  • 1 in 3 people affected by cancer feel lonely or isolated2
  • Around 1 in 5 people with cancer suffer from depression3
  • 25% of people with lung cancer feel sad4

There is no “right” or “wrong” reaction to a cancer diagnosis; you may feel all, or some, or even none of the emotions listed above. Everyone is different; your response will be affected by who you are and what you believe.5

No matter what emotions you feel in relation to your cancer, it is important to try to cope with them:

  • Take good care of yourself physically, by eating a healthy diet and taking regular exercise6
  • Learn self-help relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga6
  • Ask your doctor or nurse for support and advice7
  • If talking to your family and friends helps you, let them know8
  • Consider professional support from a psychologist7

You might find it helps to talk to other people with cancer about how you feel:

  • Consider joining an online forum, for instance via one of these cancer information websites, to chat with other patients about how they feel; sharing experiences in this way might make you feel less alone1
  • You can also meet with other people with cancer by joining a local support group of people who may understand some of what you are going through; click here for a list of groups in your region1,6

If you do not feel comfortable talking to other people about your feelings, here are some other suggestions:

  • Write your feelings down in a notebook or diary, either on paper or on your phone or computer8
  • Try doing things you really enjoy8
  • Try distracting yourself; lose yourself in a favourite hobby such as photography or crafts8
  • Look at what you can control in your life, for instance by drawing up a daily schedule8


  1. Macmillian. Cancer and your feelings. Accessed February 2016.
  2. Macmillian. Lonely cancer patients 'suffering in silence', new research shows. Accessed February 2016.
  3. National Cancer Institute. Depression (PDQ®). Accessed February 2016.
  4. Leydon GM, et al. 'What matters to me': an international online survey of people treating, affected by and living with lung cancer. Future Oncol. 2012;8:883-96.
  5. American Cancer Society. Coping with cancer. Accessed February 2016.
  6. Cancer Research UK. Managing your emotions. Accessed February 2016.
  7. Macmillian. Help from your healthcare team. Accessed February 2016.
  8. National Cancer Institute. Feelings and cancer. Accessed February 2016.