You may be an extraordinarily good coper or you may find you have trouble just making it through some days. Either way, coping with cancer taxes you to the maximum. I believe you can benefit from knowing about the types of psychological help that are available and trying those that appeal to you.
-Jimmie C. Holland, M.D.

From "The Human Side of Cancer," by Jimmie C. Holland, M.D. and Sheldon Lewis:

Feeling sad and worried is normal at times during cancer treatment, no matter how good a coper you were before the illness. Indeed, the word cancer itself evokes these feelings because of its meaning and implications. You may be someone that copes so well that, with the help of your family and friends, you manage the crisis of illness well. On the other hand, you may be a person who finds it hard to cope some days. In this case, you can find help by talking with a counselor or by sharing your concerns and feelings with others who are going through the same problems, like anxiety and depression, you may benefit from a medication that can be prescribed by your oncologist or a psychiatrist who works with patients who have cancer. Keep in mind that these problems "go with the territory" of cancer; they are normal reactions to the illness. They are not a sign of psychiatric illness or of personal weakness. Getting help makes good sense.

I recommend that you find a therapist or counselor who has experience in treating people with cancer. The psychological problems you face have a sense of urgency not associated with other conditions. The urgency comes from the fact that you are facing a threat to your life. Ideally, your counselor should have worked with oncology teams in the hospital or office and should know about cancer prognoses, treatments, and side effects. For example, fatigue can be caused by cancer or its treatment. It can also be caused by depression. Your therapist has to be able to recognize the difference, perhaps with the help of consultation with the medical team.

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