10 Tips to Manage Cancer-Related Stress and Anxiety


A cancer diagnosis can be a life-changing event, bringing with it a great deal of uncertainty. Cancer treatment can affect the physical body in the forms of weight loss, weakness, or hair loss, and can also affect mental health and wellbeing.

Many patients and caregivers deal with the mental and physical effects of stress and anxiety. Common feelings include worry, fear, hopelessness, or feeling overwhelmed or out of control. Physically, you may feel tense or short of breath, suffer from headaches or muscle aches, or experience changes in your sleep and eating habits.

You can learn strategies to manage these feelings, especially with the help of clinicians— including social workers, counselors, psychotherapists, and psychiatrists—who work to care for the whole patient during and after their treatment.

Below are 10 tips from Dana-Farber experts to help manage cancer-related stress and anxiety. These suggestions may not apply to everyone. If you have concerns about your mental health, please contact your healthcare provider.

Learn more about managing your mental health from Dana-Farber’s Department of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care.

Make An Appointment

For adults: 877-960-1562

Quick access: Appointments as soon as the next day for new adult patients

For children: 888-733-4662

Latest Tweets

Dana-Farber @danafarber
Tamoxifen, often considered the first targeted therapy, can be used to treat patients with #breastcancer fueled by… https://t.co/6HoR2SVyfL
Dana-Farber @danafarber
New #research led by Dana-Farber’s Dr. Kimmie Ng and Dr. Vicente Morales-Oyarvide shows that #diet can lower risk o… https://t.co/w3Mrozbodz
Dana-Farber @danafarber
Love and commitment have enabled Lynda and Ellen Thomas to get through Lynda’s diagnosis and treatment for inflamma… https://t.co/ZW899shyFi

Patient and Family Blogs

Patients and families of patients at Dana-Farber often chronicle their own experiences with cancer.

Here are some blogs that you can follow.