Updated December 2021
Cancer is a life-changing experience for patients and their loved ones.
Logan Prince, a licensed clinical social worker with HCI Patient and Family Support, says people with cancer may grieve the life they thought they had or the life they were hoping for.
Grief is the mourning you feel after any kind of loss. It is a normal, healthy response to the changes cancer can bring—to your health, your peace of mind, your independence, your ability to work or do the things you love. HCI social workers say it’s important to acknowledge grief and work through your feelings.
Tips for Working through Your Grief
- Know it’s OK to grieve. Let yourself cry, feel numb, be angry, or feel however you are feeling.
- Talk about how you feel with friends, family, social workers, or clergy. Consider joining a support group.
- Ask for help from family members, friends, and neighbors when you need it.
- Practice mindfulness or relaxation techniques like these:
- Save your energy for the things you value most.
- Focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t do.
- If you can’t do the things you love in the same way, think about how to make adjustments.
How long grief lasts is different for every person. It may never go away completely, but the hurt it causes will lessen over time as you work through your feelings. Even though you may not feel like the same person, you can still find a sense of who you are and define how you will live your life going forward.
For more help coping with a cancer diagnosis, contact HCI Patient and Family Social Workers.