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Emotional Wellbeing & Counselling

In honour of Ninon Bourque


Emotional Well-Being and Counseling

People diagnosed with cancer and their loved ones can experience many different feelings during their journey through cancer.  These can include: anger, sadness, fear, feeling overwhelmed / out-of-control, feeling helpless.  These are all very common feelings around the time of diagnosis or when you are experience some changes in your condition.

Books of Interest available at your public library or local bookstore

Cover of The Anxiety & Phobia WorkbookThe Anxiety and Phobia

by Edmund J. Bourne
ISBN: 1626252157
Publication Date: 2015-03-01
Image of cover of A Cancer Patient's Guide to Overcoming Depression and AnxietyA Cancer Patient's Guide to Overcoming Depression and Anxiety: Getting Through Treatment and Getting Back to Your Life

by Derek Hopko, Carl Lejuez
Publication Date: 2008 


Image of Book cover for The Relaxation & Stress Reduction WorkbookThe Relaxation and Stress Reduction by Martha Davis; Elizabeth R. Eshelman; Matthew McKay; Elizabeth Robbins Eshelman

ISBN: 1572245492
Publication Date: 2008-05-03

Book cover for the total cancer wellness guideThe Total Cancer Wellness Guide

by Kim Thiboldeaux; Mitch Golant; Mehmet C. Oz (Foreword by)

ISBN: 9781933771168
Publication Date: 2007


Book cover to The Resilience FactorThe Resilience Factor

by Karen Reivich; Andrew Shatte

ISBN: 9780767911917
Publication Date: 2003

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Many people will face some degree of depression, anxiety and fear when they have a diagnosis of cancer. You will find here some information that can help you understand the normal reactions and when to get help from your health care team. Temporary feelings of sadness are expected, but if these and other symptoms last more than a few weeks, you will want to contact your health care team and get some support.

Symptoms of depression that you will want to report to your health care team if they last for more than a few weeks:

  • Feeling sad, irritable, or anxious
  • Feeling empty, hopeless, guilty, or worthless
  • Loss of pleasure in usually-enjoyed hobbies or activities, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy, feeling listless
  • Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much. Waking too early
  • Eating too much or not wanting to eat at all, possibly with unplanned weight gain or loss
  • Thoughts of death, suicide or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre: Individual, Family or Group Support

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The diagnosis and treatment of cancer can be very difficult for those affected and their families.

Coping with cancer is not just a matter of coping with your physical illness.  Fear and changes can be overwhelming.  A sense of loss of control, anxiety, sadness and anger are all normal responses to a diagnosis of cancer.  The experience of cancer has an effect of your feelings and your emotions. It is important to take care of your emotional well-being by reaching out for help when you need it.

At the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre, The Psychosocial Oncology Program  has professionals that can help you through this process. One-on-one sessions and group counseling is available.

You an self-refer for individual, family and group support by calling The Psychosocial Oncology Program at 613-737-7700 ext. 70516 (General Campus) or ext. 25200 (Irving Greenberg Family Cancer Centre).

The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre Support Groups

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Caregiver Support Group: A group for family members whose loved one has metastatic cancer.

Coping with Cancer Stress: 2 groups are available.  Both are 6 week support groups offered to patients and families.  One is for patients within their first year of diagnosis and the other is for those with recurrent or metastatic cancer.  Learn ways of coping. 

Stepping Stones: A 6 week support group for women and men newly diagnosed with breast cancer.