Youth Cancer

Dealing with Fear

Living with cancer can be a stressful and isolating time for you, not to mention very frightening. Fear and anxiety are normal reactions to have.

Types of fear

  • Fear of treatment: will it be painful and will it work?
  • Fear of side-effects: complications and how they may interfere with life in the future. Even short term effects like hair loss and nausea can be frightening.
  • Fear of the future: will you, your parent or your sibling be the same after this?
  • Fear of recurrence: the possibility of a secondary cancer diagnosis.
  • Fear of being different and being rejected by your mates.
  • Fear of dying, or losing your parent or sibling.
  • Fear of isolation and feeling that no one else understands.

Coping tips

Accept it

As we keep saying, it’s normal to experience fear. Telling yourself not to worry or criticising yourself for being afraid won't make these feelings go away. Focus on finding ways to help yourself manage the anxiety instead.

Don't sit there worrying alone

Talking about your fears and feelings or writing down your thoughts in a journal can help reduce your anxiety. Connecting with others who are going through similar stuff can take a lot of the anxiety away.

Join a support group

This isn’t for everyone, but it can be great to talk to other people who understand what you’re experiencing. Aside from feeling like there are other people who understand, it’s a good opportunity to share practical info. You can find a couple on the Useful Links page.

Ask your doctor lots of questions

Knowing what to expect can make things feel much less scary. Thinking of yourself, your family and your doctor as partners in charge of health-care decisions can help you feel more in control.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle

Eating a well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough sleep can help you feel much better, physically and emotionally. You'd be surprised at how much less anxious you feel just by being healthy and rested.

Reduce stress

Finding ways to reduce stress will help lower your overall level of anxiety. Everyone is different, but below are a few stress relievers that you could try:

  • Spend time just hanging out with family and friends.
  • Don’t give up hobbies and other activities you enjoy unless you absolutely have to.
  • Take a walk, meditate, or enjoy a nice hot bath.
  • Read a funny book or watch a funny movie.
  • Avoid unnecessary stress - don't take on responsibilities or commit yourself to tasks you don't have time for.
  • Avoid people and situations that make you feel stressed out (unless it’s the hospital – you can’t avoid that, but we do have tips to make that less stressful too).