Feeling good about yourself during cancer treatment

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Even though cancer changes many parts of your life, there are still opportunities to feel good about yourself. Learn tips to help you feel good while dealing with cancer.

Key points

  • There are some things you can do to help yourself feel better during cancer treatment including learning about your cancer and treatment, taking time to treat yourself and continuing to do things that you enjoy.
  • Laughing and smiling causes your braint orelease chemicals that help your body relax so adding some laughter to your day can help you feel better.

At times, having cancer might make you feel left out, lonely or scared, or like a kid again when you need to rely on others to do things for you. Cancer changes many parts of your life, but there are still lots of opportunities to feel good and enjoy yourself.

For more videos regarding teens and cancer, please visit the Teens Taking Charge cancer playlist.

Here are some suggestions from other teens about what you can try to help yourself feel good while you’re dealing with cancer.

  • Learn about your cancer and treatment. Knowing what’s happening can boost your confidence because you feel a little more in control.
  • Take some time to treat yourself – watch a good movie or sport game, take a hot bath or cook a favourite meal.
  • Try to keep doing things that you enjoy such as hanging out with friends, exercising or playing an instrument.
  • Make a schedule so that you know what’s coming up and what to expect. This can help you feel more in control and independent.
  • Learn how to meditate. You’ll be surprised how much more peaceful you can feel after meditation.
  • Try learning something new such as how to play an instrument, write poems or stories, or draw.

When laughter is the best medicine

Did you know that laughing and smiling actually causes your brain to release chemicals that help your body relax? In fact, there is some evidence that laughing is good for our health. Obviously there will be days when you don’t feel like laughing, but other teens have found that sometimes a little laughter can go a long way. Try some of these suggestions to add more laughter to your day.

  • Ask your friends and family to send you funny cards, emails or links to funny videos.
  • Watch funny movies or TV shows alone or with your friends or family.
  • Animals are cute and silly! Look up funny videos of animals doing silly things on YouTube.
  • Call your best friend.
  • Play board games or card games with your family or friends.
  • Read joke books or funny stories.
  • Listen or watch comedy/stand-up routines.

Coping with physical changes

Body changes can be a major source of stress for young people with cancer. Hair loss, central lines, skin problems and amputations can all impact your self-image, making it hard to feel good. In the next sections you will learn some strategies that can help you adjust to these changes in your body and help you feel better.

Look Good Feel Better

A good resource for feeling good about yourself and managing the changes to your body is a program called Look Good Feel Better.

The program also provides workshops for women on how to manage the appearance-related effects of cancer. Some of them are designed especially for teenage girls. Talk to your health care team or view the list of workshops to see if one is being offered anywhere near you.

Last updated: September 3rd 2019