Helping People with Cancer Stay Mentally and Emotionally Healthy

Photo of a senior woman being comforted during a support group session

Cancer support groups may have many benefits.

People with cancer may feel stressed and overwhelmed. It’s normal for them to feel anxious, afraid, angry, or depressed. Cancer treatments also can cause them to have trouble concentrating or remembering things. These feelings and problems can make it hard for them to work or do normal daily activities.

If you’re caring for someone with cancer, you have an important role in helping him or her cope mentally and emotionally.

What Can I Do?

  • Be sensitive to the person’s feelings and encourage him or her to talk about them with you and other family members and friends.
  • If the person is worried about money, see our list of resources that may be able to help.
  • Encourage the person to join a support group.
  • Ask the doctor for a referral to mental health and social support services.
  • Help the person stay as active as possible. Physical activity has been linked to lower risk of depression, as well as lower rates of recurrence of certain kinds of cancer, among survivors.
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