After your cancer metastasizes, your outlook may be like that of someone with another type of chronic disease. Someone with type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis or congestive heart failure lives with their disease, knowing it cannot be cured.
How to Live with Your Cancer for the Long Term
Living with your cancer and knowing you likely will not experience a cure proves challenging. How this challenges you differs from how it challenges someone else. But some of the difficulties of living with long-term cancer include:
- Feeling hopeless, angry, misunderstood or sad after your cancer’s return or outlook
- Worrying your cancer will worsen
- Having to visit the doctor, undergo tests and make hard decisions
- Talking with friends and family about your cancer
- Needing daily living help when you suffer fatigue or treatment side effects
- Finding the right support system for your spirit and emotions
- Coping with your cancer’s costs, with or without insurance
Meeting Your Metastatic Cancer’s Challenges
Second opinions about cancer metastasis and possible treatments make many people feel more confident about their long-term outlook or treatment options. See another oncologist for greater insight into your disease, its stage and how it may or may not respond to treatment.
Get help from your treatment team for your cancer symptoms and treatment side effects. You have options, such as for pain management or treatment. If you suffer pain with metastatic cancer, surgical removal of a tumor causing your pain might help. Pain medication or other methods help, too.
Coping with Metastatic Cancer Emotional Changes
Your emotions change with your diagnosis. This natural outcome of metastatic cancer creates its own challenges. Coping methods include:
- Learning more about your cancer or the metastasis
- Talking with a support group or counselor
- Managing your stress through holistic methods, such as yoga and meditation
- Seeking spirituality or peace through religious leaders, chaplains or counselors
Acknowledge and Accept Your Feelings
Talking plays an important role in coping with your metastatic cancer. If you suffer intense emotional symptoms, talk to your doctor or other treatment professionals for guidance and referrals. Remember that your goal is for the best possible life despite your cancer’s metastasis. Your doctor wants to help you have your best possible life and your treatment team has resources to help you live your best.
Remember Your Family Needs Support
People who love you likely need support at this time, too. They face the daily challenges and emotional changes of having a family member or friend with metastatic cancer. Your treatment team makes referrals for these needs, too. Simply ask for information about support groups, available counseling or other ways to help your family cope.