How cancer affects you

We don’t shy away from the fact that 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.

Cancer myths

You may have heard a lot about cancer in the past, from friends and family, or on the internet and TV. Remember that not everything you hear will be true! Here are some of the facts:

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.

You can't 'catch' cancer 

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

Cancer and treatment can change how you look and feel about yourself, but you’re still you. Depending on what your doctor says, you may be able to keep going to school and seeing friends. Even if you’re in hospital, staying in touch with your friends and doing activities you enjoyed before can help you through this time.

Most young people with cancer do get better

In general, cancers that younger people work differently to cancers that affect older people. Getting better 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, it is best to speak to your doctor.

Updated February 2017, next review due February 2018.