Skip to content

Cancer Health Center

Font Size

Adjustment to Cancer: Anxiety and Distress (PDQ®): Supportive care - Patient Information [NCI] - Normal Adjustment

Patients living with cancer need to make adjustments in their lives to cope with the disease and changes in treatment.

Living with a diagnosis of cancer involves many life adjustments. Normal adjustment involves learning to cope with emotional distress and solve problems caused by having cancer. Patients with cancer do not make these adjustments all at once, but over a period of time as their disease and treatment change. Patients may need to make adjustments when they:

Recommended Related to Cancer

General Information About Laryngeal Cancer

Incidence and Mortality Estimated new cases and deaths from laryngeal cancer in the United States in 2014:[1] New cases: 12,630. Deaths: 3,610. Anatomy The larynx is divided into the following three anatomical regions: The supraglottic larynx includes the epiglottis, false vocal cords, ventricles, aryepiglottic folds, and arytenoids. The glottis includes the true vocal cords and the anterior and posterior commissures. The subglottic region begins about 1 cm below...

Read the General Information About Laryngeal Cancer article > >

  • Learn the diagnosis.
  • Are being treated for cancer.
  • Finish treatment.
  • Learn that the cancer is in remission.
  • Learn that the cancer has come back.
  • Become a cancer survivor.

Coping methods help patients adjust.

Patients find it easier to adjust if they can carry on with their usual routines and work, keep doing activities that matter to them, and cope with the stress in their lives.

Coping is the use of thoughts and behaviors to adjust to life situations. The way people cope is usually linked to their personality traits (such as whether they usually expect the best or worst, or are shy or outgoing).

Coping methods include the use of thoughts and behaviors in special situations. For example, changing a daily routine or work schedule to manage the side effects of cancer treatment is a coping method. Using coping methods can help a patient deal with certain problems, emotional distress, and cancer in his or her daily life.

Patients who adjust well are usually very involved in coping with cancer. They also continue to find meaning and importance in their lives. Patients who do not adjust well may withdraw from relationships or situations and feel hopeless. Studies are being done to find out how different types of coping methods affect the quality of life for cancer survivors.

Patients who are adjusting to the changes caused by cancer may have distress.

Distress can occur when patients feel they are unable to manage or control changes caused by cancer. Patients with the same diagnosis or treatment can have very different levels of distress. Patients have less distress when they feel the demands of the diagnosis and treatment are low or the amount of support they get is high. For example, a health care professional can help the patient adjust to the side effects of chemotherapy by giving medicine for nausea.

    1|2|3|4
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    Colorectal cancer cells
    New! I AM Not Cancer Facebook Group
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Real Cancer Perspectives
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article