How cancer affects you

Being diagnosed with cancer is probably the biggest thing that’s ever happened to you. Right now you may feel angry, sad or worried about treatment. Perhaps you’re anxious about how your illness will affect your family and friends, too.

How cancer affects you

This information explores how cancer may affect you, your relationships with friends, your education, work, family and finances. It aims to offer helpful suggestions about some of the situations you may face and highlight where support can be accessed.

If you'd like more information on these areas, you can also download our booklet Making sense of it all (pdf).

Cancer myths

You may have heard a lot about cancer in the past, from friends and family, or on the internet and TV. However, it may be that some of that information is not correct. We have dealt with some of the more common myths about cancer below.

If you have a question or you are worried about something that we haven’t covered here, you may wish to talk to one of the health professionals involved in your treatment.

Cancer is not just an old person's disease

There isn’t just one type of cancer, there are lots of them – and they can affect children, young people and adults alike.

It isn’t your fault

There are lots of theories about what causes cancer in young people, but there isn’t one definite answer. However, you can be sure that nothing you did (or didn’t do) caused your illness.

Cancer is not contagious

You can spend as much time with your loved ones as you want. Touching and hugging is fine too – you can’t pass on cancer.

Cancer doesn’t have to change everything

You may find that cancer and its treatment changes your physical appearance and how you feel about yourself, but through it all, you’re still the same person. Depending on the type of treatment you need, you may be able to keep going to classes or work. Even if you’re in hospital, staying in touch with your friends and doing activities you previously enjoyed can help you through this time.

Most young people with cancer do get better

In general, the cancers that affect younger people behave differently and respond more positively to treatment than those that affect older people. Your recovery will depend on the type of cancer you have, how severe it is, the treatment you need and your response to this treatment. If you have questions about your particular cancer, it is best to speak to your consultant.

Support and information

CLIC Sargent has developed a range of information materials, specifically for young people, to help you get through your cancer diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment.

You can download the Making sense of it all booket (pdf) and find out more about how we can support 16 to 24-year olds.

Our online community is a friendly digital space for 16 to 24-year-olds to share experiences, make friends, find useful information and support each other through difficult times.