Coping with vaginal cancer | Cancer Research UK
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Coping with vaginal cancer

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. You are likely to feel very upset and confused. Having cancer in such an intimate place as the vagina may be even harder to cope with.

Cancer of the vagina and its treatment may cause physical changes in your body. These changes can affect the way you feel about yourself. If you are having a sexual relationship, the changes may affect your sex life. We have information about how treatment can affect your sex life in our changes in your sex life section. 

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of vaginal 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? There may be children to consider. The coping with cancer section contains lots of information you may find helpful including information about who can help, counselling, financial issues, and much more.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the living with vaginal 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 you may feel that things are out of your control. It is very important to get the right information about your type of vaginal 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 vaginal cancer can affect you physically

Cancer of the vagina 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. If you are having a sexual relationship, the changes to your vaginal area may affect your sex life.  

There is information about fatigue and cancer and treating cancer fatigue in the section about coping physically with cancer.  There is information about changes in your sex life in this section.

 

Coping practically

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of vaginal 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 leg swelling (lymphoedema), for example, and need to buy new clothes, 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 don't have to sort everything out at once. It may take some time to deal with each issue. You can 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 use them if you feel you need to.

You can read more about coping with the fear and anxiety. And we have more information about  financial support including benefits, sick pay and grants.

 

More information on coping with vaginal cancer

The coping with cancer section has lots of helpful information. There are sections about

If you would like more detailed information about coping, contact one of the vaginal cancer organisations. They will be happy to help. 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 vaginal cancer reading list. You can also find details of counselling organisations, that can tell you about counselling and help you find sources of emotional support in your area. 

You can also contact our cancer information nurses. They would be happy to help.

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Updated: 25 September 2015