How cancer can make you feel

After a diagnosis of cancer, you might have a range of feelings including fear, sadness, anxiety and depression. These are normal responses to a stressful life experience. 

Shock and denial

Shock is often the first reaction when you are told you have cancer. Denial is when you try to cope with the news of your cancer diagnosis by pretending it’s not happening.

Fear, anxiety and panic

Fear, anxiety and panic can be difficult feelings to experience. But there are ways to cope with these feelings and people who can help.

Guilt, blame and anger

You might blame yourself, or other people, for your illness. Understanding more about your cancer may help you feel differently. 

Coping with sadness

It’s normal to feel sadness after you have been diagnosed with cancer. Sadness is different from depression. It is a natural part of any loss, grief, change or disappointment. 


Depression is different from feeling sad, it is an illness and needs treatment. 

Trying to stay positive

Being positive and thinking positively can help you cope with cancer, but it is natural to also feel upset and frightened sometimes.

Managing your emotions

There are things you can do to help yourself manage your feelings and emotions.

Last reviewed: 
02 Nov 2022
Next review due: 
02 Nov 2022