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I've seen anger plenty of times in my work with cancer patients — and it seems so many people feel guilty for feeling angry, or they just simply don't know what to do about it.
Anger is a normal emotion to experience as you're dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and life after treatment. Cancer is a big interruption in life — an unexpected and unwelcome interruption for everyone.
The emotions you experience are also unexpected — shock, guilt, anger, fear, sadness and depression can all be part of the roller coaster ride of emotions you feel on a daily basis.
One of the hardest to deal with is anger. If you're normally not someone who is angry, you may not what to do about it. Your family and friends may not know how to react when anger comes out either — this just makes everything more complicated.
Sometimes anger shows more naturally as an emotion with a young cancer survivor. As a young person dealing with a diagnosis of cancer, the life interruption seems so very unfair and unexpected for sure.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
The Living with Cancer blog is open to your expressions of anger — feel free to let the words flow. You'll find much support from each other here.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
Selecting "Submit" signifies that you have read and agree to our posting guidelines.
How do you get thru the experience of a cancer diagnosis with your husband who has never been ill? We are older now - he is 73 and I am 70 - married 48 years - but our Doctor and nurses treat us like we have the IQ of 10. They talk to spouses like we should just accept it as a life event. Well....I'm sorry...but I am not ready to let him go yet. The chemo treatments are exhausting and his port is painful and the nurses jam in the port line that feels to him like a nail in his chest. The Infusion Room is a cluster of 27 recliners with patients who deserve better than a community park environment. No privacy...no curtains...no condition considerations...no respect. The nurses are annoyed if you ask a question....like you are wasting their time. I am angry that this is their "State of the Art" oncology program. I am angrier that my Mom and my Dad and my Best Friend had this same type of care. Obviously it has not improved over the years. The bottom line? The doctor tells you your loved one is hospice care now...as he rushes to his BMW to get to a golf game. I'm sure that the only person interested in me is the business office to be sure I get my husband's bill paid. Happy 2017.
Thanks for creating a place to vent. I have been in remission for 7 years which is rather amazing for someone with my type of cancer. I relapsed one year ago went back into remission but am currently facing another possible relapse. I have actually worked professionally for years with persons and families of persons diagnosed with cancer. I am shocked and disappointed in myself as my anger spills over to my husband, and adult children. And I recently went after a dear friend whom I love dearly but really hurt. I used to play sports as an outlet for whatever but can no longer do so. I certainly have lots of insight in to what is going on but have no one to discuss situation with. I tend to protec family and friends by not sharing what is really going on. I'm not even looking for answers but just a place to be honest about my feelings. Thanks for this opportunity.
My daughter is only 32 anytime i talk to her she gets angry with me and i am only trying to help her some days she is ok,other days she snaps at me if i ask a question we were so close before she got it i feel lost in this sitiution she depends on her hubby and i feel left out i try every think to help her but she just snap at me
I love her so much i am heartbroken she wont let me vist her unless i ask her first
I seem to be having a difficult not getting upset about small things, very shakey feeling inside, Im on Lynparza and didn't think these were side effects. I'm a 14 year survivor of ovarian cancer Stage 1C, BRCA 1&2, clear cell. Carry the mutant gene, so I will never get rid of it. Have gone through numerous chemo through the years. But this is the first time I am really upset with myself. I blow up for almost nothing. Also not my first time around with Lynparza. Thank you
September 8, 2016
I went pretty much blind in my left eye from a eye stroke. The drs. could never find out why. Had all kind of tests. Then in November, 2015 I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. I began strong chemo in Dec., 2015. My husband died in April of 2016. I ended chemo in May of 2016 and started 21 days of radiation. I now have cataracts in my right good eye, can't drive and they won't remove them for a while because of my treatments. I am left and so depressed with my dependent state. How can I get a life back? I am not really angry, just heart broke and depressed.
i feel so angry at the inhuman treatment used for cancer. i cant handle it any more its like im dragging myself into a torture chamber and letting people burn me so i have no skin left and i am left screaming everytime i go to the toilet. i allow myself to be injected with poision that cant differetiate between heathly and cancer cells so everything gets killed and my body weakends. We need to do better then this humans can do better then this. This is not accetable treatment their is a better way i know their is I hope my kids ..grandkids generation have better cause i would never want this experience put onto them.
I am newly diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer, I had to give up the only hobby and joy I had which was riding my beloved horse which I lost her to cancer right after my diagnosis. I am having to sell everything related to her, saddle horse trailer and other equipment. My little dog just had a stroke and is doing OK, eating and moving around fine, she has a slight head tilt and lost vision in one eye. There are days when I feel almost crazy with grief and anger. I try to get rid of the anger by doing housework or cooking but the feelings are so strong that it is just about unbearable.I am an extra sensitive person and have decided that I am going to let the cancer kill me and not take chemo, I am comfortable with this decision as I never feel true peace in this world because of the abuse of animals and young children.I have a great husband but no other support. Is there anything I can do to deal with these crazy bouts of anger that come on so suddenly? Thanks
had cancer twice am very angry don't know how too get rid of it
For someone who is angry, that is.
For someone who is anger, the advice here just seems like BS.
I was diagnosed with AML on August 14, 2014 and had a bone marrow transplant on December 10. Now "leukemia free" and one year later, I went back to work on Monday. I had a doctor's appointment on Tuesday, went to work on Wednesday and had an "urgent care" issue on Thursday. This morning, I woke up fully ready to go to work. On my way out the door, I felt so fatigued that I could not go. I was so excited about going back to work, going back to something "normal" and I am so frustrated that I am unable to control this. In my mind, I know that this is going to take time, but I feel I am letting my co-workers and supervisor down. More importantly, I feel that my body is letting me down. I know I have to be patient, but I hate that! (but, I'm trying) My body has been through so much this past year and is rebuilding so well. My numbers are up and now I just need to take a deep breath and relax and not be so hard on myself. Everything is going to be ok.....
A pulminologist,who was talking to my husband about an upcoming broncoscopy, offered to biopsy a lump on my husband's face. My husband, who has metastatic head and neck cancer which has traveled to his lungs said yes. The botched biopsy caused his face to swell and now this alleged pulminoligist is performing a biopsy on his lung!!!! I am so angry!!!! What should I do?
I am just a short three months into my diagnosis and i have had surgery, now planning a second surgery and i am so incredibly angry...at everyone. I am often finding reasons to be angry and hurtful. I think it is mostly to try and push people away. I am doing all the right things to care for my physical health,but it always surprises me how quickly the anger comes and goes. I pray this is just a stage and part of the process.
My story is so unique or then again after posting I may just be like a lot of other people normal, what a word normal are any of us normal after cancer? My journey started six years ago I watched my father In law first he was brave he took a few treatments then had enough and lived his life. I commended him the most he never complained at least not in front of the family he always set up and had a word with ya he was a very wise man he would often say I have a demon every one has one rest assured he is in heaven wow what a religious man quote scripture and was up every morning to watch the preacher his bible was so used and written in miss him dearly. Then comes my mother in law 2 years later stroke talking to my wife walks into the other room and stroke all she was the funniest person you would ever meet so quick witted after she lost her husband she picked up that bible and took right up where he left off she was, something special all 4"3' of her both gone by 60. If this isn't enough I get a call my 15 year old niece dead drug overdose then I get hit with my twin brother has throat cancer my world just crumbles I can't deal with it I'm out of control in my head and fooling every one on the out side they give him 18 months he is gone in 17 months I moved here to spend what time he had left with him and I had the best 4 months I could I stayed at his house, we talked about Life his kids his wife us growing up old girlfriends old guy friends pranks we pulled things we accomplished his life he was so brave I lost my friend my confidant I miss our weekly talks I miss his voice I miss all you could miss from someone you shared such a bond then comes me I'm diagnosed with cancer one month after my brother passes I can't believe it wake up in the room tubes everywhere I knew it's bad I have throat cancer I'm going to die where is my wife mother father I'm all alone scared blood pressure comes off the chart bells are gone off nurses rush in I'm having a panic attack screaming for my wife finally they call her at 1 am in the morning and she gets to the hospital gets me calm rubs her hands through my hair I can see in her face and through her tears something is wrong way wrong then I hear Stage 4 cancer death sentence right 3% chance I get to spend the next three months going through treatment and staying sick and I do mean sick experience I would not wish over anyone I get through that in remission for 2 years the most critical for me then get diagnosed again beat that and get diagnosed again and here we are. Who deserves this I never did anyone harm I took in a complete stranger for six months to help her get on her feet she didn't but I tried never ask for a dime and she never offered lol then my nephew lost without his daddy but I truly think his life would still be what it is. My wife what can I say, sorry, wish I could change the circumstances but I can't we are dealt a hand and must play it people call it life one moment your on top of the world then your realizing money promotions they mean nothing I been to the top and back down by choice to spend more time with my family all of that to ask why am I angry
I came across this by accident and what perfect timing. I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012. Had total hysterectomy, debulking, and 6 months of intense chemo. Treatment worked and i was cancer free for 18 months. Went back to work during my remission and enjoyed life more knowing i came close to losing it. Now that its back, Im out of work , racking up the medical bills, and going through endless bloodwork, and chemo again. I am angry but try not to show it to anyone. I am a widow with 3 sons and I try to minimize it so they do not get scared. But I am scared. I want my old life back and know that will never be. and this message is to Lisa. I read your statement and was moved to tears. In 2012 when i was first diagnosed, my so called fiance had a change of heart. He moved out and out of state while I was in treatment. No support at all when I needed him the most. I know how you are feeling. But after he left , I was stronger and realized I was better off alone than with someone who really didn't want to be there. If you ever need or want to talk, let me know . I can send you my email address..hope you are well.
This comment is in response to Edward. I am sorry that you feel that the blog entry is not helpful. The intent was to recognize that anger is a normal reaction and does suggests a few strategies to deal with this. Everyone will have a different take on this. You may have your own ways of dealing with anger that work in other areas of your life. As mentioned above... Take the powerful energy of anger and direct it to something positive, active and creative — such as writing, exercising, golfing, painting, knitting, etc. Think of ways to get the anger out and direct it to another, more positive activity.
Other ideas might include writing down the words you're feeling, using your peer support groups and blogging to get your emotions out. I wish you the best.
Well this blog entry is completely useless.
It acknowledges anger as an issue with cancer; but says nothing about how to deal with it, and overcome it.
The reader is left with the sense that it will always be: a life tortured by anger with cancer. Is that what the author intended?
After being diagnoised with breast cancer in January 2014 and the knowing it had spread to my lympth nodes, litteraaly pulled the rug out from underneath me. My mom was living with us and it was a God send that she was here. Now that I have completed chemo and starting radiation, I am so darn angry , mad, don't want to be around anyone, and now my mother is leaving me and moving all the back to the east coast. I will not keep her against her own will. She wants to go, then go. She is a weak human being and has no sympathy for what I am going through. She has hurt me terribly and I don't want her to be around me any more. I need positive support and understanding. My husband always tells me how much he loves me and sticks through this with me. I know he loves me and that helps a lot. I now have this laying heavy on my heart and still fighting cancer. I don't know what to do now.
I was just diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. Still waiting for staging but not to concerned because I am going to fight this.. I have been a little angry though the last two days because it is breast cancer awareness month and I am seeing slogans everywhere that screening saves lives. I am angry because for 14 months I have had 3 mammograms and 3 ultrasounds and every time they told me they are cysts! I had lumps show up in my armpits and again the said cysts from my small hometown radiologist. Well I had enough of those dang cysts because they hurt so I scheduled elective surgery on my own and came out of surgery to the words " You have breast cancer". What is the purpose of screening???
I’m hardly ever angry, but the experience of having early stage breast cancer has made me angry with myself most of all. I’m exhausted, discouraged, and unable to perform routine tasks as well as I’m used to. When I relax a little, I realize this is not so much anger as understandable frustration. We need to have compassion for ourselves.
People telling me what to feel and what to do makes me angry. When you have cancer and are going through treatments you lose control of your normal life. Someone telling me to smile makes me want to stab them with a pencil.
Do you know what helps? Being honest. If you tell me that if I need something and I ask, then follow through. Don't blow smoke up my rear. Don't only talk to me about my cancer. Don't expect me to be upbeat and grateful for the gift of cancer. I call BS. It's not a gift. Don't tell me you understand what I am going through if you haven't been there and done that.
It is not easy. I'm going to start telling people to stay positive when they are miserable with the flu. More appropriate than people telling me that with cancer! Yes, I am angry!
Debbie, I agree that your situation is confusing to understand. If you can, ask for yet another pathology opinion. Mucinous cystadenoma and mucinous adenocarcinoma are probably related cell types within the same tumor site or location. Ask your oncologist to clarify this for you.
6 WEEKS AGO I WAS DIAGNOSISED WITH BLADDER CANCER. AFTER EXTENSIVE SURGERY WHEN THEY FOUND IT I HAD 2 BIOPSIES THAT CAME BACK NEGATIVE AND THEN A AMENDMENT OF A 3RD & 4TH OPINIONS THAT I HAVE IT (MUCINOUS ADENOCARCINOMA) I THEN THIS WEEK HAD ANOTHER PATHOLOGIST LOOK AT MY BIOPSIES AND IT WAS NEGATIVE AND THEY CALLED IT (MUSINOUS CYSTADENOMA) OF THE BLADDER...NOW I AM SO CONFUSED AT WHAT TO BELIEVE AND DON'T KNOW WHERE TO TURN TO GET A RIGHT DIAGNOSIS...PLEASE HELP ME UNDERSTAND HOW 2 CAN BE POSSITIVE AND 2 NEGATIVE FOR CANCER. AND WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT. THANK YOU DEBBIE
I am just tired of questions, why is your head down, why are you walking slow, you have to get out of this funk. there is no funk This is not the flu you don't take alka zeltz plus and it goes away. so i'm always angry because everyone is always reminding me i'm sick. meanwhile, i go to work, work 8 hours, do my job but i am entitled to hurt be slow and not always be dancing in the aisles. the anger kills me and drills me and this is not the first this is metastatic breast cancer triple negative only 6 months after my last radiation treatment, single parent of a 16 years old boy. This is not a walk in the park. Everyone just wants things back to normal, no one wants that more than me.
Thank you Sheryl.......that is pretty much how my doctor described the statement regarding eating SUGAR and tumor growth.
Linda and Stu - Sugar doesn't make cancer grow faster. All cells, including cancer cells, depend on blood sugar (glucose) for energy. But giving more sugar to cancer cells doesn't speed their growth. Likewise, depriving cancer cells of sugar doesn't slow their growth. This is a very popular myth. To learn more - search the mayoclinic.com site for cancer myths. I hope this is helpful.
There is another face of anger to address....the family of the cancer patient. Many years ago(in'83)I was diagnosed with breast cancer, after surgery had some nasty chemo and radiation. Looking back now, I can see how frustrated my husband really was.....we fought all the time, threw glasses across the room(found remnants when we moved 15 years later).With 2 young kids, it was very hard. I learned that my 4 year old son told his friend that his mommy used to have really long hair, like his mom, until Daddy pulled it all out(I lost it from chemo). I hope there is support these days for the family. Fast forward to 2013 (I've since had brain surgery and ovarian cancer)and we are celebrating our 40th anniversary this month.
Can someone please address Stu's comment that "Sugar spreads Cancer".During my first round of chemo for stage IV ovarian cancer, I was taking prednisone, which made me eat and eat and eat...and CRAVE sugary foods. I was concerned that I was "feeding my cancer". When I asked my doctor about this, he said the cancer will find the sugar it wants no matter what I eat. Sheryl, can you comment on this please?
Anger is a form of hostility. Cancer itself is very scary especially when you are told that after my second Pet Ct Scan that my Colon Rectal Cancer has spread and incurable. What a bad hand I was dealt. I keep a positive attitude to help me cope wit life. Sugar spreads Cancer, so please odor note sugar and watch what you eat. We will survive. God Bless everyone who has Cancer. Do not give up! SmileL
When I had a relapse last year after being in remission for 30 years, my initial reaction was shock. how can I have a relapse after such a long time. I put my focus on Jesus's grace and healing then and now to help me cope. Having caring friends and siblings also help in the recovery process. Currently I channel my energy in exercising to build up my health.
The timing of this couldn't be more perfect. I've been in treatment for two years. I've worked very hard at being positive like everyone tells me to be, but, for the first time, my anger came out Friday night as I was recovering from chemo. It made me realize I need to do better at sharing my feelings with my husband so he can help me better cope with this ongoing journey.
AS far as my study there no doctor can cure cancer if you have a cancer there are many to be blame including yourself.Why? in cancer so many women affected in this problem today than in the year of our ancestors. DR.Clark And Jau Fie Chen claim that women are expose more in Enviromental Chemical or sometime we call now a Pollution and Infection.What causes infection 1. a parasite 2. virus and bacteria. And if you have this now the sign is a weak immune system you have.How to make a very strong immune cell. 1. Visit an area where there are so many tree why? a free oxygen you will get 2.Eat more fruit of any kind specially rainbow fruit or a different color of fruit why your Immune system dependent on that SEASONAL fruit. if you make an effort for doing this YOU HOPE OF GETTING WELL x hundred % you yourself destroy the cancer in you body and getting easily.
yes anger is normal, but every time you feel anger remember one thing on the spot of anger in thirty minute your adrenal glan will secrete a hormone called cortisol steroid,and it can feed the cancer cell o stimulate of cloning and it grow faster than you think.In just thirty minute try as fast as you can make an effort by walking doing something that you may be sweating why because cortisol steroid will go out as you sweat and no feed for a cancer cell. JOY IS WHAT THE CANCER PERSON NEED. Why every time you feel happy an immune cell can stimulate the other immune cell the natural killer cell or immune cell kill he cancer cell easily and that is only a very good hope for a cancer person.
Dears, How lovely is this tool how to help people deal with cancer related anger. A very nice support to people exposed to dying from the disease. Banning GMO, nitrates/nitrites, MSG, food without pesticide residue, reducing unnecessary medical XRays could make a real difference. Once I had 18! Eighteen!! Xrays at one dental visit, to get a single, simple filling done, now I am fighting like hell. They did those Xrays to me against my asking not to. What have you done so far to prevent cancer from happening? What have you done to prevent medical and pharmaceutical practices to reduce their carcinogenity? By the way, what is the reason to have artificial color ingredients in medications?
I am very angry that a good, decent young man....my husband.....was taken from me in January because of a rare form of cancer. He fought this beast with every fiber of his being, but he lost his battle and I lost my soul mate.
There is a Dr who has been curing cancer in Italy. Please search on youtube for Dr Simoncini who has had a lot of success treating cancer patients. You will never get a cure here in America
Thanks I feel angry and it does not help me to be around my friends who are mentally challenged thanks for the tips
I feel frustrated too.This cancer is on my mind all the stinkin time now I wish I did not have it but its not true.I deal with it one day at a time
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