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Coping with vulval cancer

Women discussing vulval cancer

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

 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Coping with vulval 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. 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? There may be children to consider.

The coping with cancer section contains lots of information you may find helpful. There are sections on coping with your feelings, on telling people about your cancer, sex and sexuality, helping yourself, who else can help, and getting help with financial matters.

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 associated with your illness. If you have lymphoedema, for example, and need to buy new clothes to accommodate 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.

 

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

 

 

Coping with your diagnosis

It can be very difficult coping with a diagnosis of cancer, both practically and emotionally. The vulva and genital area are very private parts of your body. So telling friends and family about your diagnosis and treatment can be particularly difficult for women with vulva cancer. 

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 vulval 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 vulval cancer can affect you physically

Cancer of the vulva 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.

The cancer and treatment can cause physical difficulties. Sitting down can be uncomfortable. This can make long journeys hard. And going out socially may be difficult if you are worried about whether you will be able to sit down. If you have had a vaginal prolapse in the the past, the treatment may make this seem worse or you may develop symptoms. 

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. 

Read more about treating cancer fatigue

The changes to your vulval area may affect your sex life. 

Read more about changes in your sex life.

 

Coping practically

As well as coping with the fear and anxiety that a diagnosis of vulval 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.

Read more about financial support. And look at the Macmillan Cancer Support website. 

It can be hard to know who to tell that you have cancer. And how to find the words. You may also have children to think about. 

Look at the coping with cancer section to read more about talking to people 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 those 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.

 

More information on coping with vulval cancer

Look at the coping with cancer section. Read more about

For support and information, look at the list of vulval cancer organisations and the vulval cancer reading list.

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

If you want further support, you can look at details of counselling organisations. These tell you more about counselling and help you find sources of emotional support in your area.

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Updated: 6 July 2016