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Coping with cervical cancer

Women discussing cervical cancer

This page contains information about coping with cancer of the cervix. There is information on

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Coping with cervical 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 at first.

You may also have to come to terms with losing your fertility. Having your womb removed (hysterectomy) can be very upsetting, even to women who are past their menopause and would not be having any more pregnancies anyway.

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? There may be children to consider.

Our coping with cancer section contains lots of information on practical and emotional issues that you may find helpful. If you would like more information about anything to do with coping with cervical cancer, contact your clinical nurse specialist or one of the cervical cancer organisations.
 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the living with cervical 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 your type of cervical cancer 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.

 

How cervical cancer can affect you physically

Cancer of the cervix and its treatment may cause physical changes in your body. These changes can be very difficult to cope with and may affect the way you feel about yourself. Such changes can affect your self esteem and the way you relate to other people, especially close family and friends. Another problem you may have to cope with is feeling very tired and lethargic a lot of the time, especially for a while after treatment or if the cancer is advanced. There is information about fatigue and cancer and treating cancer fatigue in the section on coping physically with cancer.

If you are having a sexual relationship, the changes to your cervical area may affect your sex life. There is information about changes in your sex life in this section.

You may have to come to terms with losing your fertility. If you had to have your womb removed (hysterectomy) you may feel very upset, even if you have had your menopause and would not be having any more pregnancies anyway.

 

Coping practically

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of cervical cancer brings, you may also have to work out how to manage practically. There may be money matters to sort out. You may need information about financial support, such as benefits, sick pay and grants. As well as possibly qualifying for some state benefits, such as sick pay, you may be able to get a grant for any major expense due to your illness. If you have lymphoedema, for example, and need to buy new clothes for a swollen leg, you may be able to get help from Macmillan Cancer Support. They offer grants for one off expenses for people with cancer.

Who do you tell that you have cancer? And how do you find the words? You may also have children to think about. We have information about talking to people about your cancer and how and what to tell children.

Just try to remember that you do not have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. Do ask for help if you need it though. It is likely that your doctor or specialist nurse will know who you can contact to get some help. They can put you in touch with people specially trained in supporting people with cancer. These people are there to help and want you to feel that you have support. So do use them if you feel you need to.

 

More information on coping with cancer

Our coping with cancer section has lots of helpful information. There are sections on

If you would like more information about coping, contact our cancer information nurses for more help. Or contact one of the organisations in our cervical cancer organisations page. They often have free factsheets and booklets they can send to you. They may also be able to put you in touch with a support group. There is also a cervical cancer reading list

You can also find details of counselling organisations, that can tell you more about counselling and help you find sources of emotional support in your area.

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Updated: 10 June 2014