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When someone in the family has cancer, it causes changes and concerns in the family. No two families react the same. Your relatives may feel shocked, sad, depressed, or even angry when they learn that you have cancer. Often, they want to help but are not sure how.
It is normal for everyone in the family to feel upset and fearful at first. Family members must deal with their own emotions while also supporting the person with cancer. You may wonder how to tell your children, especially if they are young. You may worry about money, your family duties, and where you fit in the family. Thinking ahead can help prepare your family for coping with the cancer treatment period.
If your family members ask to help you, give them specific tasks they can do. This can help ease their frustration, make them feel useful, and help them to feel better by helping you.
Cancer causes many families to look at their values and adjust their priorities. But families usually learn to overcome the problems.
When you find out that you have cancer, you may feel many emotions and may need some help coping. Seek out family, friends, and counsellors for support. You also can do things at home to make yourself feel better while you go through treatment. Call the Canadian Cancer Society (1-888-939-3333), or visit its website at www.cancer.ca for more information.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Talking to young children
Talking to teenagers
Talking to adult children
Dealing with changes in your family
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if you have any problems.
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Current as of: March 1, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Elizabeth T. Russo MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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