Dealing with a cancer diagnosis

Sometimes the emotional part of cancer is the toughest test.

Any kind of cancer diagnosis is life-changing. There suddenly are many decisions to make about treatments, possible surgery, and recovery. It can be a lot to deal with. But one part of the cancer process that often gets pushed aside is the psychological aspect — how do you manage the many emotions that come with it?

"The natural response to hearing 'cancer' is to feel a surge of anxiety and negative thoughts like 'I'm going to die,'" says Dr. John Peteet, head of the psychosocial oncology fellowship at the Harvard-affiliated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. "Yet many men are reluctant to admit this and keep their feelings inside, so it's tough to know when they need help with this part of a cancer diagnosis."

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