Coping with eye cancer

Many people find coping with a diagnosis of cancer difficult. Eye cancer and its treatment may affect your eyesight and how you feel about yourself.

It can help you to cope if you understand more about it. This includes how it might affect how you feel. Getting the help and support you need can also help you cope.

Your feelings

You might have a number of different feelings when you're told you have cancer. You may feel shocked and upset. You might also feel:

  • numb
  • frightened and uncertain
  • confused
  • angry and resentful
  • guilty

You may have some or all of these feelings. Or you might feel totally different. Everyone reacts in their own way. Sometimes it's hard to take in the fact that you have cancer at all.

Experiencing different feelings is a natural part of coming to terms with cancer. All sorts of feelings are likely to come and go.

Physical changes

Eye cancer and its treatment may cause physical changes in your body. You might have changes in your eyesight and your appearance. These changes can be very difficult 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. 

You might also have to cope with feeling tired and lethargic due to your cancer or its treatment.

Relationships and sex

The physical changes you have might affect your relationships and sex life. There are things that you can do to manage this.

Helping yourself

You may be more able to cope and make decisions if you have information about your type of cancer and its treatment. Information helps you to know what to expect.

Taking in information can be difficult, especially when you have just been diagnosed. Make a list of questions before you see your doctor. Take someone with you to remind you what you want to ask. They can also help you to remember the information that was given. Getting a lot of new information can feel overwhelming.

Ask your doctors and nurses to explain things again if you need them to.

Remember that you don’t have to sort everything out at once. It might take some time to deal with each issue. Ask for help if you need it.

Coping practically

As well as coping with the emotions a diagnosis of cancer brings, you may 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.

It can be difficult telling people you have cancer, or deciding who to tell. You may also have children to think about. We have information about talking to people about your cancer, including how and what to tell children.

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 supported.

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