Dealing with the news

There is no right or wrong way to deal with the news that your cancer can’t be cured.

You’ll probably feel many big emotions, some that you might expect and others you won’t, and sometimes they will be overwhelming.

Common emotions include:

  • Anger – about what is going to happen, about what you think you should have done to prevent or fight your cancer, or at the whole world because it’s unfair that this is happening to you.
    This is completely okay. Sometimes underneath the anger are other feelings like denial or fear.  Working out what you’re angry about and finding ways to express anger will help you to focus on the things that are important to you.
  • Sadness – about all the things you won’t get to do and the things that your family will miss out on sharing with you.
  • Denial – which can be a way to protect yourself from thinking about and dealing with stuff that is just too hard, by continuing to tell yourself and others that your cancer can be cured and that everything will be okay. But it can stop you from doing and saying the things that you want to do before your cancer advances.
  • Frustration – because you feel like you have no control over what is going to happen.
    However you can find ways to control some aspects of what is going on, like where you are treated and how you want to spend your time.
  • Being really scared about dying is very normal. Having the right information can help you deal with fear and minimise the freak outs.
  • Guilt – about how your family is coping or will cope, and that you are causing them a huge amount of pain. You might also feel guilty because so much time and attention is focussed on you and your needs, particularly if you have other brothers and sisters. Discussing these feelings with your family can help.

Dealing with this news is really hard. Don’t try to do it alone. Find people who you can talk to and who will be honest with you. This may be family or friends or it may be easier to talk to someone outside your family, like a member of your YCS team or a counsellor. Canteen also offers a free and confidential counselling service.