A little while ago, we wrote a blog on what happens next after you’ve been diagnosed with melanoma. But it was very much written from a medical process perspective. And whilst it’s important to understand the process, we didn’t address coping with the emotions of a melanoma diagnosis.
Most of us have this idea that life’s bad stuff happens to other people. So receiving news of a melanoma diagnosis could be a bit of a shock. Even if you’d noticed that spot and had some suspicions about what it might be.
Even if it’s not a shock – maybe melanoma runs in your family, there may still be some emotional fallout as you cope with the emotions of a melanoma diagnosis.
The key thing to keep in mind is that in the majority of cases, melanoma can be treated with quick and simple surgery.
But as simple as that sounds, discovering you’ve got cancer of any kind, even if the treatment is relatively simple, can shake your confidence and/or have you questioning your mortality. And it’s completely okay to feel that way. After all, someone applied the word ‘cancer’ to you and, up until that point, you quite possibly felt pretty invincible.
Emotions of a melanoma diagnosis – possible reactions
Patients have lots of different reactions when they’re given the news they have a melanoma. Possible reactions to a melanoma diagnosis might include;
- Shock and disbelief along the lines of there must have been a mistake; how could this happen to me, I’m not even feeling ill, etc.
- Anger – you might be angry at yourself, someone else or your god for ‘allowing’ this to happen
- Blaming yourself or someone else – your parents for letting you get sunburned as a child, friends who encouraged you to tan or yourself for some past indiscretion you’re now being ‘punished’ for. Whilst there might be mitigating factors involved, no-one deserves to get cancer.
- Anxiety and distress. Being told you’ve got a cancer is scary. So your thoughts might turn immediately to a worst case scenario and worrying about how your family might cope. You might grieve the loss of your health and feel sad too.
- Feeling alone and isolated. You might feel like no-one else understands what you’re really going through. So it can be tempting shut everyone out so you can get through it on your own. Or maybe you don’t want to worry others.
- Feeling like you’ve lost control over your life. This wasn’t ‘meant to happen’ and now it feels like you’ve lost the battle.
Next blog post? A look at what you can physically do to look after yourself as you travel the emotional rollercoaster that a melanoma diagnosis can bring.
If you suspect a spot on your body might be skin cancer, please get it checked out as soon as possible. The earlier skin cancer is detected, the earlier treatment can begin and the better the outcomes. You can call us on 9999 0336 (Northern Beaches clinic) or 9223 1608 (Sydney City clinic) or you can pop your details in the form below and we’ll get back to you shortly with our next available appointment.
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