Young people's thoughts, feelings and relationships when diagnosed with cancer

Cancer may cause you to experience some strange and frightening feelings. These can be feelings like:

  • denial
  • shock
  • disbelief
  • anxiety
  • despair
  • anger
  • depression
  • fear
  • the need to cry
  • embarrassment
  • feeling rushed and reduced tolerance.

People can even feel nothing and they may become withdrawn from their friends and family. People may treat you differently and relationships may change.

How do you tell your friends?

There is no right or wrong way to do it. Let people know that you want to know what is going on, and you want to talk about it. It can be difficult to talk if there is a big gap between what you want to talk about and what everyone else wants to talk about.

Talking tips:

  • tell your closest friends, or those who you think will understand
  • think about what you want to ask/say before you start
  • be aware that it may be hard at first with lots of silent moments
  • try not to freak out if someone gets upset – it’s not an easy topic to discuss
  • don’t worry about getting it right the first time. It might take several tries to ask the questions or share the stuff that you want to
  • do something else at the same time, like something you enjoy with your friends
  • it may be easier to talk to someone outside the family. Think about people who you trust and feel comfortable with.

If talking is too hard

Sometimes you might feel that talking is too hard, but you still want people to know how you are feeling. You can also:

  • write a letter
  • find cards that say it for you
  • send a text message or email
  • Facebook
  • find songs that say it for you.

Sometimes it might be useful to keep your Facebook posts, letters or emails for a while, and re-read it later (before you send it).