Being diagnosed with womb cancer can be life changing and can leave you feeling overwhelmed with different thoughts and emotions. You may worry what the future might hold and have lots of questions and uncertainties. There is no right or wrong way to think or feel. We all cope with things in different ways and you will find a way that is right for you.
Common feelings include:
- Fear and anxiety
- Anger or irritability
- Sadness or depression
- Feeling alone
- Grief or loss
It might help to know that these feelings are both common and normal and many people that have been diagnosed with womb cancer experience these feelings at some point. It is important to acknowledge how you feel and seek help if you need it.
Talking to those people close to you or other people affected by cancer can often help. Your gynaecology clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is there to help you through your diagnosis, treatment and beyond and is often well placed to signpost you to local services that might help.
You may need some help to come to terms with your diagnosis and how you are feeling. Everyone is different and there are many approaches to support, it may take some time to find what works for you; some suggestions for support are listed below.
Here to help, Guide & support
Clinical Nurse Specialist
You should be introduced to a CNS at diagnosis. They are a senior nurse with experience in gynaecological cancer and they are a point of contact with the team that is treating you. They can help you navigate your way through your treatment and beyond.They can provide information and signpost you to various methods of support including practical, financial, and emotional. They can offer a listening ear and it can be helpful to talk through your concerns and share your worries with someone outside of your family.
Support groups and online communities
Sharing your experiences with others in a similar situation can often be helpful. There may be a support group near you and your CNS might be able to put you in contact with a local group. Many websites have forums and blogs where you can read about other people’s experiences and share your feelings. This can be a less scary way to engage if you feel face to face groups might not be right for you. Just reading about other people’s experiences can be helpful and make you feel that you are not alone.
Examples of online forums and support groups:
Cancer support centres
These are often found on site in hospitals or close to those providing cancer treatment. They are often run by charities such as Macmillan and Maggie’s. They usually provide drop in information and support. Many also offer services such as complimentary therapies and activities such as gardening or choir groups. Local hospices often provide day services open to those affected by cancer and often offer similar support services and complimentary therapies.
When visiting these centres you don’t have to talk about your experience. They can be places where you can take some time for yourself surrounded by people who understand what you are going through and who are there to support you. Speak to your CNS to see what services are in your local area (1).
Macmillan Cancer Support
Provides practical advice, information and support including emotional well-being during cancer and beyond. A free support helpline is available.
Support line: 0808 80800 00 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) Interpreters are available.
Offers free practical, emotional, and social support to people with cancer and their families and friends.
If you feel that you would benefit from some professional help dealing with your feelings then speak to your CNS or General Practitioner (GP) in the first instance as they will know about the services available in your area. These will be free to access. If you would like to find a therapist yourself the following links can help you, although there would be a cost involved.
British Association for Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapies
British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy
www.bacp.co.uk 01455 883300
Support for partners
Being the partner of someone diagnosed with womb cancer can feel overwhelming and there can be a lot to think about. You may feel shock, anger, fear, and sadness among other emotions, or you may be struggling to admit that this is happening at all. All these reactions are common and completely normal and there is no right or wrong way to feel.
It can be hard to see your partner in distress and you may feel unsure how best to help. Roles may change in the relationship due to the impact of the diagnosis and treatments and this can be difficult for both of you to adjust to. You both may be reacting to and coping with the diagnosis in different ways and this can put strain on even the strongest of relationships. You might be trying to protect your partner from your worries or feel that your concerns are not as important, but talking about how you feel may make it easier for your partner to be honest about how they are feeling and may help you to feel closer (2)
Be aware of how you are feeling and coping, it is important that you care for yourself. If you think you would benefit from some support, you could contact the CNS allocated to your partner as they are here to support you too. They can offer a listening ear to your concerns and signpost you to services in your area. Your GP is another good place to gain support and they can also refer you to local support that is free of charge. The Macmillan website has an excellent variety of information and practical, emotional, and social support to help partners and the wider family and friends of those diagnosed with womb cancer and the link is below.
The Maggie’s Centre also offer face to face and online support to anyone that is affected by cancer, including family and friends and the link is below.