Cancer and its treatment have an impact upon an individual that is felt in many ways. In addition to physical changes, cancer may evoke emotional, social, psychological, economic and spiritual changes. Dealing with these changes creates a myriad of issues and challenges for an individual and his or her family and friends (Northouse 1995; Kristjanson and Ashcroft 1994). Various reactions emerge: shock, disbelief, confusion, sadness, anger, relief and resignation. Many individuals say that life is never the same once they have heard the word "cancer." Some individuals confront their diagnosis using familiar coping methods, while others withdraw. Some manage the challenges they face, while others experience ongoing difficulties and distress. No two individuals exhibit the exact same reactions to the circumstances surrounding their cancer experience, but none will be unaffected.
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