The Big “C” — How Can You Best Cope With a Cancer Diagnosis?

Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD

Photo Courtesy: KARRASTOCK/Moment/Getty Images

Nearly 2 million American adults each year are diagnosed with cancer. If you receive a diagnosis, your schedule can quickly start to fill up with doctor's appointments, medical procedures and pharmacy visits. Creating a checklist of things to do can help keep you busy and feeling more in control. But acknowledging the effects a cancer diagnosis can have on your emotions — and healthily managing those emotions — is almost as important.

Doctors and psychologists now recognize that healing improves after a diagnosis when both our physical and emotional needs are met, says Niki Barr, Ph.D., a psychotherapist at the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders in Texas, who consults with medical doctors, extended families and caregivers about emotionally coping with a cancer diagnosis.

Learning you have cancer is a stressful experience, and it’s important to acknowledge and cope with that stress. Fully understanding how your emotional needs can change after you receive a cancer diagnosis can go a long way in helping you and your family heal. The tips here can help you support your mental health as you navigate your diagnosis and treatment.