Becoming ill with cancer is a crisis that sparks many feelings. When you learn that you are ill, the most painful and confusing thoughts fill your mind. You doubt that you’ll survive the disease, that you can cope with the treatment and that you will ever recover to your former self. But you do not have to be left alone with such anxiety.
Everyone faces and deals with their feelings in their own way and time. Some disentangle their feelings through action, some cope by talking about their situation and some prefer to think by themselves. It is important to give yourself time, to explore your feelings and to deal with them. Only then will your mental recovery pick up and your grip on life become firmer.
Many people find that talking is a natural way to deal with their feelings. Talk to your doctors, nurses, family, friends and acquaintances. Do not think that you are bothering them. If they listen to you now, the quicker the matter will be settled.
People who have experienced the same illness will perhaps have the best idea of the kind of questions that come to mind when one has just been diagnosed with cancer. It is possible to contact such people through the peer support network of the Finnish Cancer Organisations. Local Finnish Cancer Organisations have trained a large team of support people to help those who have become ill and their families during the different stages of illness. These support people are volunteers who know from personal experience what it is like to have cancer. The support person work is confidential, and everyone trained to be a support person has signed a confidentiality pledge.
It is also possible to receive peer support by taking part in the activities of provincial member associations and patient organisations. These arrange a variety of activities, support groups and courses.
Furthe information about support persons and other activities:
Peer support online
You can also receive peer support on the internet. You can discuss with others who have cancer using a pseudonym in the Cancer Organisations’ discussion forum.
National advice service
Oncology nurses are available to answer your questions through the national advice service of the Cancer Organisations: neuvonta(at)cancer.fi