Anxiety, stress and cancer

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Learn how to help your teenager manage anxiety and stress both during and after cancer treatment.

Key points

  • Your teenager may experience stress and anxiety as they go through cancer treatment.
  • Teens with anxiety may benefit from talking to other teens who have been through similar experiences, either in a group setting or online.

It is very common for teenagers with cancer, at some point during or after treatment, to experience anxiety and stress. This anxiety may be related to your teen’s fears for the future, fear of the cancer returning or worry about their own mortality. Many teens are also anxious about changes to their body and losing friendships.

Coming to terms with cancer

It is common for teenagers with cancer to know of other young people with cancer who have died. Your teenager may be dealing with questions about why they survived, guilt about their survival or concerns about the greater meaning of their cancer experience. They may also be struggling to understand and come to terms with why their teenage years have been so different from those of their friends.

Help your teen connect with others

If your teenager has anxiety, they may benefit from talking to other teens who have had similar experiences. A member of your child’s cancer team may be able to recommend a reputable or moderated forum where teens with cancer can meet and talk online. Some links to forums are also included in the teen pages on communication. While websites have the potential to offer teens with cancer a place to feel supported and understood, they should be used with some caution and may require supervision.

Helping your teen manage anxiety

Anxiety and stress related to cancer can occur long after treatment has ended. Even if your teen doesn’t seem stressed or anxious now, supporting your teen in managing stress and anxiety will help prepare them for the future. Your teen will learn some tips and strategies for recognizing and managing stress and anxiety in the teen program. Encourage your teenager to try out them out.

Last updated: September 3rd 2019