9 Tips for Emotional Care of Cancer – Part 1

Dr Phang Cheng Kar

Effective treatment of cancer is more than just the physical aspects – surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. The emerging field of psycho-oncology has reviewed that the psychosocial factors of cancer could influence the treatment outcome. Here are nine ways you could manage your emotional health while battling cancer:

Find ways to express your feelings, for example, talking to someone, writing in a journal, blogging, and painting. You may write about your journey, confusion, concerns, and expectations. Besides the calming effect, ventilating our thoughts and feelings help us to be more aware of our fears and needs.

  1. Bring a family member or friend along during clinic appointments. They can be helpful in several ways: help to ask questions, remember advice, and give you support. Feel free to ask any questions related to your illness. Do not feel shy or that you will offend your doctor. It is part of his or her professional practice to attend to your questions with patience and kindness.
  2. Join a support group in your local community or online. Find out what helped other patients and families cope with cancer. Talk with other people diagnosed with the same type of cancer. It can help to talk with others and know that you are not alone. However, it is also important to remember that each person’s experience (for example, with treatment plans and side effects) may be different from yours. Do not confuse and scare yourself unnecessarily – stay calm.
  3. Try relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, music therapy, pleasant imagery, yoga, qigong, and meditation, which can help to reduce anxiety. When you are less anxious, you can focus better and make more wise decisions with regards to treatment.
  4. Be aware of clinical depression which is characterized by feeling down, depressed, or sad; having little interest in doing things; and feeling hopeless. Depression is more common in people with cancer than those in the general population. It worsens the outcome of cancer treatment and a person’s quality of life. Contact and discuss with your doctor if you think you have depression.

For more information, please call Dr. Phang’s Clinic,

Sunway Medical Centre 03 7491 6505 or email:

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