9th May 2022

Managing your mental health and lung cancer

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A lung cancer diagnosis can lead to stress, anxiety, depression or other mental health issues for several reasons. Uncertainty about the future, worries about treatment, concerns about family; the list of worries can sometimes seem endless.

This week [9th May – 15th May] is Mental Health Awareness Week, so we’ve collected some helpful resources together to help you look after your mental health while navigating your lung cancer journey.

Know the ins and outs

Understanding your lung cancer treatment plan will have benefits for your mental health. When you are actively involved in making decisions about treatment, you’ll be able to manage your expectations and be aware of the next steps.

To get more involved in your lung cancer care, you could.

  • – Learn about the type of lung cancer you have. Ask your team about how it may affect you.
  • – Ask your lung cancer nurse questions, remember, there’s no such thing as a stupid question!
  • – Learn about all aspects of lung cancer treatment, surgery and managing symptoms by utilising Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s free information booklets.

Keep up your hobbies

Dealing with a lung cancer diagnosis is life changing. Continuing to participate in your hobbies will help to take your mind off any challenging thoughts and reduce stress. If your lung cancer symptoms make it harder to take part in your usual activities, try to modify these or find new pastimes to explore.

Anne Libby, who is living with stage 4 lung cancer, is a member of our Roy’s Runners Facebook groups and regularly takes on our virtual walks and runs to support her wellbeing.

“I was diagnosed with incurable stage 4 lung cancer in 2018. Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation is my go-to organisation for information & support. I love these virtual runs, medals, playlists, t-shirts and being part of the Roy’s Runners group! Living with incurable lung cancer can be a lonely place but running/jogging/walking is my therapy!”

We know not everyone is a runner; other hobbies you could try include reading, gardening, baking, crafting, bird watching or walking.

Try alternative relaxation therapies

Complementary therapies may help ease some of your worries or even symptoms, while also enhancing your quality of life.

Therapies such as acupuncture, massage and reflexology can help promote relaxation and reduce stress. Yoga, tai chi and mindfulness meditation can also help to reduce anxiety. You may even find these therapies help you cope with pain.

It’s good to talk

If you are struggling with anxiety, depression or PTSD, it is important to let your lung cancer team know. You may be referred to a psychologist, counsellor or prescribed medication.

Talking about how you are feeling can really help to ease worries, even just a small amount.

Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s Lung Cancer Connect support sessions are designed to help you do just that. Hosted by skilled facilitators, these sessions will help you to increase your coping skills, manage during treatment and talk to others who know exactly what you’re going through. These sessions are accessed from the comfort of your own home and are free to join.

Register your interest here

Telephone/Online support

Our free Ask The Nurse helpline has been a lifeline for many, particularly during the pandemic. Our team of nurses are here to help support anyone affected by lung cancer.  

Whatever your question, we’re here to provide help and support to you.

You can contact the team on freephone 0800 358 7200. Monday – Thursday 9am – 5pm / Friday 9am – 4pm or email lungcancerhelp@roycastle.org.