How many times have you heard, “It’s just skin cancer” or “Skin cancer isn’t a big deal”? While frustrating, when people who haven’t experienced skin cancer make these comments, it can also be difficult to cope with your own feelings about skin cancer. For many patients, skin cancer can bring both good days and bad days, and can impact your day-to-day life through feelings of stress, fear, and worry. To learn more about the emotional impact of skin cancer, we asked our community members, “How are you feeling today?”. Do any of these experiences (or emojis) sound familiar to you?
Feeling nervous or stressed
“Nervous another 3 month check up.” “Waiting for my biopsy…” “Got a MOHS coming up…”
For many of our community members, skin cancer can bring-on feelings of nervousness, stress, and anxiety. Whether you are worrying about an upcoming appointment, thinking about tumor recurrence, or concerned about a change in your skin, skin cancer can make you feel stressed from time-to-time. Because a previous skin diagnosis increases your risk of future skin cancers1, many of our community members find themselves worried about new tumors. Some of you are currently undergoing treatment or waiting on test results, making the stress of skin cancer all too real. If you’re worried about past, present, or future skin cancers, be sure to talk to your healthcare provider about your concerns, especially if you notice any changes to your skin. Skin cancer may always be in the back of your mind, but seeking mental health support may help make your skin cancer journey more manageable.
“Just had my port put in yesterday and am still extremely sore…So today isn’t so good.”
It’s not just skin cancer. If you’ve been diagnosed with skin cancer, you know that a lot goes into managing your treatment. When dealing with skin cancer, bad days can come in all shapes and sizes- some of you may be recovering from a procedure, while others may be accepting a new diagnosis. Beyond your treatment plan, on the bad days, sometimes a little self-care if the best medicine. Whether you crawl into bed, spend time with your family, or binge on TV to get through a bad day, hopefully, tomorrow is better! To get through a tough day, you can also reach to a skin cancer support group or talk to your peers.
“Today is a good day. ” “Pretty good!” “Today was good, who know what tomorrow brings?” “Good”
After a skin cancer diagnosis, you may have some not-so-good days. Fortunately, for many community members, plenty of days happen too! If you are celebrating good test results, congratulations! If you just had a clean skin-exam, yay! Appreciating the good days can improve your skin cancer journey, helping you to be ready when the not-so-good days come around too. However you choose to enjoy of the good days, we hope you can celebrate and share your happiness with your friends and family.
Hribar, Casey. "Worrying About Skin Cancer Recurrence." SkinCancer.net, Health Union, skincancer.net/living/worrying-tumor-recurrence/. Accessed 3 Dec. 2017.