Patient information

Advice: the emotional impact of cancer and coronavirus

A diagnosis of cancer and the treatments that follow can be hugely worrying and upsetting. The emotional impact of pancreatic cancer may include feelings of anxiety, fear, anger and depression. Coronavirus, and the uncertainty of what will happen next is likely to cause similar stress and anxiety. With the virus currently dominating the news and how we live our lives it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. Spending increased time indoors and away from loved ones can feel isolating.

Stay in the present

It is important to acknowledge how you are feeling, your mental health is as important as your physical health. Try not to ignore any anxiety but instead recognise and find ways of managing it.

Whether you are social distancing, self-isolating, or shielding yourself from the virus there are a few different ways to cope with feelings of anxiety or panic. Opening windows and spending time looking around you outside, bringing yourself back to the present and the moment you are in can help. Spending time in different rooms of the house and creating a safe space to retreat to when you feel anxious can also help change your mindset.

Write it down

Whatever you are feeling, you may find it useful write your feelings down, it can help to organise your thoughts and let them go. Keeping a journal can be a good way of doing this, gives you something you have control over and also establishes a routine where you take time out for your mental health. You may also want to consider limiting your news intake and spending this time on a short episode of mindfulness, breathing exercises or meditation. Online resources and apps can help guide you through this.

If you are receiving treatment…

If you are receiving some treatments for cancer such as chemotherapy, you may be asked to take part in shielding over the next 12 weeks. This involves staying inside the house, distancing yourself from other members of your household and only going out for essential medical appointments. Shielding can feel very isolating and ultimately deciding whether or not to do this is your choice. The NHS recognises some people, for example those in the final months of life, may not want to shield themselves from loved ones. Before you make a decision, you should discuss this with your medical team. If you are struggling with depression or the emotional impact of pancreatic cancer or the coronavirus, speak to your GP, they may be able to recommend online or telephone counselling services.

We are here for you

Please know that you can talk to us. Whether it is for advice, or you are worried and need someone to talk you through it – we are here for you.

Call 0303 040 1770 ext. 1

E-mail [email protected]