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Managing emotional changes due to vaginal cancer

Some people find it easy to talk about their feelings. Others may never feel comfortable. You need to decide when you are ready to talk. It’s OK to tell people you’re not ready to talk and that you’d rather wait for another time. Try not to put it off for too long. Talking about your feelings to a good listener is helpful.

Your family and friends may try to support you by putting on a happy face or by being overly caring. They may deny your illness or play down your anxiety or symptoms. Let your family and friends know when their behaviour upsets you. They will probably appreciate some direction on how to act.

Sometimes talking to family and friends isn’t enough. You may want to talk to other people, such as:

  • Nurses: support and assist you through all stages of your treatment
  • Social worker, physiotherapist and occupational therapist: link you to support services and help you to resume normal activities
  • Psychologist and psychiatrist: talk with you and your family about your worries. They can help you figure out what upsets you and teach you ways to cope with these feelings. Psychiatrists can prescribe drugs if you are depressed
  • Support group: offers support and information to people with cancer
  • Pastoral care worker: helps you explore spiritual concerns
  • Tele-counselling: support group meetings that take place by telephone.

You may not want to talk about your fears and concerns with family and friends. This may be because you think you don’t have the words to describe how you feel, or you fear breaking down if you talk. You may also want to avoid being a burden to family and friends or fear appearing as if you are not coping.

Research has found that support helps people adjust to the diagnosis. The longer you avoid communicating the harder it will be. If you feel your family won’t understand, join a support group or talk to a health professional.