Help for the Emotional Toll of Cancer

Free Professional Counseling for Cancer Patients
This page was originally published December 18, 2019 and updated May 25, 2024.

Cancer is a devastating diagnosis. In addition to the physical effects of the disease, many studies clearly show cancer also takes a heavy emotional toll. As a patient, you likely struggle with a wide variety of negative emotions including anxiety, fear, depression, stress, and grief for the life that once was. It is important to know that, now more than ever, you need access to free counseling and therapy services to help you cope not just with the physical but also with these harmful emotional effects of cancer. National nonprofits provide these services and more all at zero cost to patients in the USA. Be sure to check our national directory of free support services here. ❤️

Benefits of Professional Counseling

Professional counseling and therapy can help you in many specific ways during this difficult time. From the NCI Guide Adjustment to Cancer: Anxiety and Distress, “The benefits from these therapies include having lower levels of depression, anxiety, and cancer- and treatment-related symptoms, as well as feeling more hopeful. Patients who have the most distress seem to get the most relief from these therapies.”

Your therapist can give you personalized support, coping strategies, and practical advice that will empower you and provide you with an effective and experienced community behind you championing for your best care, treatment, and outcome. A therapist can be your advocate, addressing all of your unique support needs to make sure you have the tools and resources to fight the disease.

Remember Self Care

In addition to professional counseling, the National Cancer Institute recommends self-care steps you can take right now to combat the emotional effects of cancer. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Communicate about how you’re feeling. It’s important to express what you’re going through so that you can get the support you need.
  • Join a peer support group. This can be a great way to share your experiences and connect with others who understand what you’re going through.
  • Exercise. Even light exercise has been shown to help improve mood and alleviate stress.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating nutritious foods can help your body cope with the physical effects of cancer and treatment.
  • Make time for yourself. Take some time each day to do something that you enjoy, such as reading, listening to music, or spending time outdoors.
  • Make sure to get enough sleep. It’s important to allow your body to rest and recover.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and other fluids throughout the day.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol. These substances can interfere with your ability to heal and can also be dehydrating.

Research from the American Cancer Society has shown that while a cancer diagnosis can often lead to anxiety, fear, and depression, there are ways to combat these emotions. Exercise, healthy eating, and good self-care practices are proactive steps. As the American Society of Clinical Oncology reports, “Failure to identify and treat anxiety and depression increases the risk for poor quality of life.” If you are feeling overwhelmed, please know professionals are available to help and support you.

Get Professional Help for Free

Professional counseling can be extremely beneficial if you’re a cancer patient struggling with emotional trauma from the disease. Counseling can provide you with a safe place to express your feelings and emotions, and can help you better understand your diagnosis and treatment, as well as manage any anxiety or depression you may be experiencing. If you’re dealing with the emotional effects of cancer, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Here are two national nonprofits that offer professional counseling services to cancer patients at no charge:

CSC Cancer Support Helpline

The CSC Cancer Support Helpline offers free professional support services to cancer patients and families nationwide. The Helpline is staffed by community navigators, resource specialists and a Helpline navigator who have over 170 years of combined experience helping people affected by cancer and offering guidance, resources and support all at no charge. Call the phone number above or live chat Monday-Friday 9AM-8PM ET and Saturday 9AM-5PM ET for assistance.

CancerCare Counseling Program

Free professional counseling services by licensed oncology social workers who can help you manage all aspects of the disease from treatment issues to improving communication with family. For more on this free counseling program, visit the CancerCare website at Help is also available by phone (800) 813‑4673 or email

More Help is Available

As a cancer patient, you may understandably feel anxious about your diagnosis and treatment. You might be afraid of the side effects of treatment and worry about how the disease will affect your quality of life. You may be feeling stressed about how you’ll handle everything and cope with the financial cost of cancer. It’s no wonder that depression is very real among cancer patients. Cancer can make anyone may feel hopeless, helpless, and isolated, but there is a way forward. And that is by reaching out for professional help to provide assistance to manage the any aspects of cancer, from treatment to finances to emotional support. Get the help you deserve at no cost by reaching out to the free programs above today. More free professional support programs are available in our national directory. ❤️

Free professional counseling and support for cancer patients

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Cancer Care News is a non-profit 501(c)(3) sharing evidence-based cancer updates & financial resources for patients & families in the USA. Please share the information you find helpful with others in need.


  1. I think that is should be standard practice to have any cancer patient be teamed up with a nutritionist so they know what to eat and what not to eat. This is really good information.

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