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Useful sources of information

Useful sources of information

It is normal to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed after being told that we have cancer. We all worry, and worry is normal. Underneath the worry are feelings of uncertainty and not feeling safe. It is unsurprising that we worry, especially when there is a lot of uncertainty about our future or health conditions.

We know that: worry takes up a lot of time, we are all very good at worrying, worry peaks at certain times in the day, worry often leads us to think about negative things. So why do we all worry? Usually because we started off thinking it could help in some way: to feel prepared, get thoughts in order, stop bad things from happening, etc.

It’s important to acknowledge your worries, and be kind to yourself. Excessive worry can have a negative effect on our mental and physical well-being if we do not find helpful ways to manage worry. Taking the steps to acknowledge when you are worried and carrying out practical things to help you cope with feelings of worry can reduce distress.

When you notice worry it can be helpful to notice, name and choose…

Notice what you feel or think right now…

Name the feelings or the thought…

Choose what you want to do right now, that is true to what you value...

For example:

I notice that I am thinking about becoming unwell and I am feeling frightened. Even though this is upsetting and difficult, I am choosing to phone my brother right now because keeping connections with my loved ones is important to me.

Ask yourself: How do I want to be now, what qualities do I want to show:

  • In my relationships with the people around me and with myself...
  • In relation to my health...
  • In my leisure time or growth time...
  • In how I spend my time during the day...

Once you have decided what values and qualities are important for how you want to be in these different areas then make choices towards these values:

  • What choices can I make to move towards my values…
  • What actions can I take today that are in line with my values...

It is easy to get caught up in thoughts and feeling and miss out on what is happening in the present moment. If you notice getting caught up in worries, try bringing yourself back to the here and now. It might be helpful to try:

Using your senses

Name something you can see, something you can touch and something you can hear. You can repeat this process as many times as needed to bring your focus to the here and now.

Belly Breathing

  • There are two types of breathing, breathing into our upper chest or breathing into our belly/abdomen.
  • Breathing into our chest is often how we breathe with exercise but also with stress.
  • Breathing into our belly is more efficient and more relaxing to the body. Without making any big changes to the speed or amount of breath, switching to breathing into your belly can be helpful.
  • You can do this by stopping and focusing on your breath, placing one hand on your chest and one hand on your belly and taking steady breaths in and out.
  • Focus on taking the breath into your belly, letting the hand on your belly rise up and the hand on your chest should stay mostly still. Finding a quiet space to do this can be relaxing.

Reduce Overload

It is very easy to feel overloaded when we actively seek information about cancer on the internet or social media etc. “Googling” too much can make us feel overwhelmed, especially as human being we tend to pay more attention to threats! So, try to limit overload:

  • Limit the amount of time you spend seeking out information about cancer on the internet
  • Avoid reading, listening or talking about cancer late in the evening, when you need to be winding down for bed
  • Get the right facts, use reliable sources to gain information, speak to your health professionals
  • Build time into your day to relax or be focused on an enjoyable task

Have worry-free time

It is normal to worry but sometimes we need to purposefully take time out from worrying. Creating this time out or holiday from worry can be done by:

  • Reduce overload and time reading and talking about cancer
  • Making a set time where you will not focus on worries. Make a decision when you become aware of worries during this worry-free time to come back to it at a later point and choose to focus on something else now
  • Focus on the present moment and the things you can do / the action you can take.

Our team have created some recorded exercises to help when difficult thoughts and feelings come up. It can sometimes be helpful to drop an anchor and bring us into the present moment to help us whilst these thoughts and feelings pass.


The Clinical Health Psychology team have also started a YouTube channel which we will be adding to with helpful videos. You can access it via this link:

Talking Therapies

The services listed below link directly to their websites where you can find out more. These services mainly offer support with low mood, worry and panic attacks through online therapy or courses, some also offer individual therapy.


It is okay to feel vulnerable and overwhelmed about your health and wellbeing. If you are continuing to find it difficult to manage your experiences, there are services that can support you. There are support services that are available to contact such as:

  • Your GP or NHS111
  • SANEline 0300 304 7000 available 4.30pm to 10.30pm, for telephone support
  • Samaritans 116 123 available 24hours a day, for telephone support.
  • There is also a text service Shout where you can access support over text message by texting 85258.