A long and serious illness takes its toll as much on the mind as it does on the body. Distress or emotional upset can arise at any time and can last for days, weeks, or even months. Most people with advanced cancer, and their family and friends, will already have travelled an emotional roller-coaster and are looking for the strength to continue.

The way you think about cancer and its consequences may have changed. Depending on your condition, you may be thinking more seriously about living with a chronic or disabling disease, or, at times, even about death and dying.

You, your family and friends will probably cope with feelings and psychological stresses in different ways, but it helps to know what kind of assistance is available, and what has worked for others when it comes to living a fulfilling life.

An emotional assessment guide may help you, your family and friends identify feelings of distress, anxiety, depression and anger. After you have completed this questionaire, share your answers with your doctor to help her or him identify the best way to help you.

These pages look at some of the emotional needs often felt by people with advanced cancer and, where possible, offers some suggestions for coping with them.

Last updated 30 August 2015