5 Ways to Manage Stress After a Cervical Cancer Diagnosis

January 19, 2024
Yoga wellness exercise

It can be overwhelming to receive a cervical cancer diagnosis. As you process the news, it can also be stressful to think about all the next steps to take. There are medical appointments to schedule, treatment options to consider, and important decisions to be made. Feeling anxious, nervous, and afraid are all common responses to cancer and the stress it can cause. 

First, take a deep breath. Know that there are resources you can turn to for information, guidance, and support. 

These 5 tips can help you manage stress and take control of your journey after a cervical cancer diagnosis: 

1. Make a list of your questions and concerns about treatment.  

Treatments for cervical cancer depend primarily on the stage of the cancer, your general health, and your desire to preserve fertility. In our cancer experience survey, nearly 75% of participants with cervical cancer reported not being knowledgeable about treatment decisions. In addition, nearly 90% reported not being knowledgeable about the financial impacts of their treatment. 

If you are newly diagnosed, know that you have time to:

  • Get a second opinion.
  • Talk through your options and questions with your doctors.
  • Develop a treatment plan with your healthcare team that fits your needs and goals.

Find some quiet time to learn about treatment options for cervical cancer. Write down your questions and concerns. Are you concerned about potential treatment side effects, treatment costs, or other issues? Bring your list of questions and concerns to your appointments and discuss them with your doctor. You can also ask a trusted friend or loved one to come with you to take notes. 


Did You Know?

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Call Our Helpline at 888-793-9355


2. Learn ways to manage potential side effects.

In our cancer experience survey, half of participants with cervical cancer reported being too tired to do the things they wanted or needed to do. In addition, 55% of participants expressed being moderately to seriously concerned about eating and nutrition.

Your cancer treatment or the cancer itself may lead to unwanted symptoms or side effects, such as nausea or fatigue. Some people also experience side effects after treatment ends. Everyone reacts differently to treatment. If you do experience side effects, there are coping methods that can help. Be sure to communicate with your healthcare team about how you are feeling. They can help you maintain your quality of life during and after treatment. 


Discover Tips to Cope With Fatigue & Other Health Concerns 


3. Create a support system.

Remember that you don’t need to manage the pressures of your diagnosis alone. Having support at every stage of your cancer experience can help improve your sense of well-being. Support can include practical help like rides to medical appointments, assistance with childcare or pet care, or help with meals. One way to organize a support system is by joining MyLifeLine, CSC's free digital support community for people impacted by cancer. Create a private support website that comes with a Helping Calendar tool. Share updates with friends and family and use the calendar tool to schedule help with specific tasks.

Emotional support is also important. Receiving encouragement from trusted friends and loved ones can boost your morale. Talking with others who are going through similar experiences can also help you feel connected and understood. Join our discussion forums for people impacted by cancer to connect with others like you


“I value knowing I'm not alone in this journey and all I have to do is go online and share what I’m feeling.”

—    Tammy, diagnosed with cancer, MyLifeLine member


If you want to connect with others in person or close to home, consider joining a local support group. Our caring and supportive community includes CSC and Gilda’s Club locations around the country, with programs like support groups, yoga classes, and educational workshops for people impacted by cancer. Find a CSC or Gilda’s Club location near you.

As you navigate your diagnosis, it’s also important to be mindful of your mental health needs. In our cancer experience survey, more than 60% of participants with cervical cancer were at risk for anxiety, and nearly 40% were at risk for depression. If you think you may be experiencing depression or anxiety, speak with your healthcare team. They can connect you with an oncology social worker or other mental healthcare professional. 

two people holding hands and coffee mugs
Having support at every stage of your journey can help improve your sense of well-being. 


4. Address workplace concerns. 

If you are worried about balancing your cancer diagnosis and your job, you are not alone. In our cancer experience survey, 45% of participants impacted by cervical cancer were moderately to seriously concerned about changes or disruptions to work. 

It may feel uncomfortable to inform your employer that you have cancer, but it is a necessary step to receive job protection. Your company may be very supportive. If you are not treated fairly because of your cancer, there are laws to protect you. 


Learn Tips to Cope With Workplace Concerns & Other Life Changes


If you are worried about how to navigate cancer and the workplace, ask your healthcare team to connect you to an oncology social worker. You can also contact our Cancer Support Helpline for resources at 888-793-9355.




5. Focus on your health.

Our research suggests that worries about the cancer returning or advancing may be common among women with cervical cancer. In our cancer experience survey, 70% of participants were moderately to seriously concerned about their cervical cancer progressing or coming back.

Whether you are learning to live with cancer or are adapting to life post-treatment, focus on your everyday lifestyle choices. Maintaining a healthy routine by eating a nutritious diet and staying active can empower you in survivorship. 

Try this smooth and flavorful polenta with fruit compote recipe, ideal for people who are experiencing treatment side effects like taste changes or difficulty swallowing. Then watch other healthy cooking videos in our Virtual Kitchen.

Follow-up care is also important. Women need regular check-ups to monitor changes in their health. Check-ups may include physical exams, Pap tests, chest x-rays, and other procedures. Talk with your healthcare team about developing a survivorship care plan. Let your doctor know right away if you have any symptoms or concerns.


Get More Details About Survivorship Care Planning