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Physical ...
Thoughts and Feelings
Low Mood and Depression
Things to help factors become more severe.
Body Image
Effects a cancer diagnosis can have on your body and body image
Isolation and Loneliness
A diagnosis of cancer may make you feel isolated, lonely or make you feel different from your peers.
Fear of Recurrence
Coming to the end of treatment can trigger a lot of different feelings – some positive, but also some negative ones. Fear that the cancer will come back again is a common worry to have. However, it can stop some people living their life in a way they would want to.
Brain fog
You may find that during and after cancer treatment, there are changes in the way you think or process information. Some people call this ‘brain fog’.
Worry and Anxiety
After a diagnosis of cancer, you may find that it triggers feelings of uncertainty and worry.
Can't Sleep?
The night can be a difficult time for people. You may find there are times that you can’t fall asleep, or you wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep. Many people experience this, and it can be due to physical reasons or the emotional impact of what is happening.
Physical Wellbeing
Physical activity
Brain fog
Friends, Family and Relationships
A diagnosis of cancer may impact on a number of your relationships
A diagnosis of cancer is likely to have a big impact on the relationship between you and your partner. It is important to recognise any concerns that you both have, and to find ways to keep your relationship healthy and fulfilling for both you and your partner.
Adult family members
During your teenage and young adult years, you will probably be gaining independence, and spending less time with your parents and older family members, and more time with your friends or partner. If this transition from childhood into adulthood is interrupted by a cancer diagnosis, you could find yourself spending much more time with adult family members.
A diagnosis of cancer may affect your relationship with your brothers or sisters; you may be spending less time at home, you may be sleeping more, playing less, doing less to help around the house, and your friends may ask them questions about your treatment. They may want to help you or be with you during your treatment, and they might be very worried about you.
Being diagnosed with cancer can make you feel different from your friends, and you may feel as though your thoughts and feelings are different from the people you were close to before. You may find that some friends are very supportive, and others aren't so supportive, which can be very upsetting.
Colleagues or School/College/Uni peers
You may have been working or studying before your cancer diagnosis, or you may enter the world of work/study following treatment. Whatever your situation, it can be difficult to know what to say to your wider social circle or new friends about your cancer diagnosis, and it is your choice whether you tell people that you have had cancer.
Education and Work
Housing and Finance
Interests and Social Life
After a diagnosis of cancer, many people worry that they have done something to “cause” the cancer, or that the cancer is a result of their lifestyle choices.
Sun Safe
After cancer treatment, it is important to protect your skin when you are out in the sun, and you may find that your skin is especially sensitive.
When you are having treatment for cancer, the medical professionals looking after you will probably ask whether you smoke. If you smoke, either regularly or “socially”, your medical team will tell you if smoking will impact on your cancer treatment.
Alcohol & Other Drugs
It is likely that medical professionals will ask you about your alcohol consumption, and whether you use any drugs, either legal or illegal.
It is advisable to visit the Dentist for regular check-ups. Seeing a Dentist every 6 months is a good start, and your Dentist will be able to tell you whether you need to attend more or less frequently.
Nutrition and Exercise
What you eat, and the physical activity you do, have a big impact on your wellbeing. A balanced diet and physical activity can boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy levels.
There are a variety of screening tests available, that will help you to keep an eye on your overall health, and to identify potential or actual health problems before they become an issue for you.
Sex, Sexuality and Fertility
How a diagnosis of cancer may impact on sex and sexuality
Talking about sex
Your Doctor or Nurse will probably talk to you about sex, and you may find this a bit embarrassing or uncomfortable if you have family members with you in your appointment.
Sex and Intimacy
The stress of your diagnosis, and your cancer treatment or its side effects, may mean that sex is the last thing on your mind.
Sexual health
Keeping yourself healthy is important when you have cancer, and your sexual health is part of this. Protecting yourself from infections, and being healthy, is an important part of your cancer treatment and recovery.
Some cancer treatment can affect your ability to have children in the future. Your Doctor will tell your fertility may be affected, and you may be offered ‘fertility preservation’ – for example, sperm storage if you are male.
As a young adult, you may only just be beginning to figure out your sexuality. Sexuality is about more than your sexual orientation or preference; it is about the realisation and development of your sexual feelings.
Things to try...
Things that other people have found helpful, and that you may want to try.
Exercise and Physical Activity
Getting up and moving, even a little bit, is a great way to relieve tension, boost your mood, and even cope with fatigue.
Talking to People
It can be helpful to share the feelings of frustration that may arise from your cancer experience with someone supportive in your life.
Peer Support
During your treatment you may have the opportunity to meet other young people who are going through a similar experience. This can give you the chance to talk about things that you might not want to talk about with your other friends, and to ask other people how they coped with side effects that may be affecting you.
Mindfulness meditation could help to make you feel more relaxed.
Relaxation is about finding something that you enjoy and gives a chance for your body and mind to calm down. This could be anything from taking a gentle walk, to painting, to reading a book…
Breathing exercises
You may find that doing some breathing exercises can help you to feel a bit more relaxed, help with sleep and ease uncomfortable feelings.
Doing things you enjoy
It can help to put time aside to do things that you enjoy doing – sometimes we forget to do this! Doing things you know you enjoy, or discovering new things can be a great way to relax and take time out for yourself.
Making changes
Making changes can be difficult, but there are things you can do to make it easier for yourself
The Way Forward 2016
Resources from The Way Forward 2016
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