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Coping with bone cancer

Men and women discussing bone cancer

This page has information about coping with cancer that started in your bone (primary bone cancer). If you have cancer that has spread to your bones from somewhere else, we have information on secondary bone cancer that may be more suitable.

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Coping with bone cancer

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer both practically and emotionally. You are likely to be feeling very upset and confused. The coping with cancer section contains lots of information you may find helpful. There are sections about

  • Your feelings
  • Talking to people – who and what to tell
  • How you can help yourself
  • Who else can help you
  • Financial support including Government benefits and charity grants

School and college

If you are at school or college, you may worry about telling everyone you have cancer. Remember that who you tell is up to you. You may worry about missing coursework and exams. Colleges and exam boards are generally very helpful when students have health related problems. Talk to your favourite teacher or personal tutor as soon as you can.

Remember – schools, colleges and employers are not allowed to discriminate against anyone under the Disability Discrimination Act. This legislation includes people with cancer.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Living with bone cancer section.

 

 

Coping with your diagnosis

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. At first, you are likely to feel very upset, frightened and confused. Or that things are out of your control. It is very important to get the right information about the type of cancer you have and how it is best treated. People who are well informed about their illness and treatment are more able to make decisions and cope with what happens.

Most people who have surgery for bone cancer have limb salvage procedures. But there are some people who will require amputation. The loss of a limb can be very difficult to cope with. Some people have emotions of grief and bereavement. It is important to remember that coming to terms with your feelings about having an amputation may need as much attention as the practical changes.

 

Coping practically

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cancer brings, you have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. Who do you tell that you have cancer? And how do you find the words?

 

Coping with school, college or work

If you are at school or college, you may be worried about missing coursework or exams. More immediately, you may be worried about telling everyone at school or college. Of course, who you tell and how much you tell them is up to you. But you will almost certainly find that everyone is very supportive and willing to help in any way they can. If the thought of telling everyone is too much for you, a teacher or tutor you trust can tell the class for you, so that when you come back you won’t have to go over what has happened to you again and again.

Colleges and even exam boards are generally very helpful when students have health related problems. Talk to your favourite teacher or personal tutor as soon as you can. They will be able to suggest ways that you can try to keep up. Or it may be more sensible to take a year out. Your place will be kept for you until the following year. If you are unwell when you are taking exams, your teacher or tutor can let the exam board know and they will make allowances for this. You should have the option of delaying taking your exams until you are well enough. That may be the better option, rather than struggling through and not doing as well as you think you should.

Treatment for bone cancer may mean that you are not able to work for a few months or a year or so. We have information about the financial support that you may need. We also have a page about how the cancer may affect you physically.

Remember – schools, colleges and employers are not allowed to discriminate against anyone under the Disability Discrimination Act. This legislation includes people with cancer. They must do all that they can to support you in your work or studies.

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Updated: 23 January 2015