Making it Through the Holidays When You Have Cancer

  • Making it Through the Holidays When You Have Cancer

Fighting cancer can be frightening, grueling, and exhausting—even in the best of circumstances. When the challenges of cancer are compounded by the responsibilities and stressors of the holiday season, coping can become even more difficult. But no matter how tiring and scary it may be to face the holidays, you do not have to go through it alone. There are many resources and actions you can utilize to help you cope.

Here are 4 steps you can take to make it through the holiday season with your health and social life intact:

1. Determine What Opportunities Cannot Be Missed

Perhaps your most important holiday tradition is taking your grandkids to see Santa, or helping your spouse wrap gifts. Maybe going out to pick a Christmas tree is your family’s most meaningful tradition. Whatever the your special “must-haves” for the season are, you owe it to yourself to pick them out and prioritize them. Tell your friends and family that those special traditions come first, and that you are willing to make sacrifices in your schedule to make them happen.

2. Select Only a Few Responsibilities

If you are facing the holiday season and fighting cancer, you will have to make sacrifices for the sake of preserving your energy. Refrain from activities that will drain you and jeopardize your health. You may need someone else to go out and do the holiday shopping or cooking, or help hang up the lights. Do not hesitate to ask for whatever help you may need. Find responsibilities you can remove from your life, and parties you can skip; this will allow you to save up energy for the celebrations and traditions that matter most.

3. Have The Party Come To You

Traveling as someone with cancer can be extremely tiring and logistically difficult. Do not feel guilty asking your friends and family members to bring the celebration to you. Loving, supportive relatives and friends will be happy to open presents at your bedside or cook dinner in your home. The energy you save can be used on other holiday activities.

4. Join an Online Support Group

A prolonged cancer battle is traumatic, and you need social support to help you make it through. At the same time, it can be difficult to attend a regular support group meeting when cancer leaves you exhausted and over-scheduled. is here to address that need.

With, you can join an online, video-chat based support group for people with cancer, cancer survivors, and even the relatives of cancer patients. From the convenience and comfort of your home, you can attend regularly scheduled meetings and discuss your holiday stress and cancer symptoms with people who can empathize. Meetings are intimate, with just 8-10 members, and led by a vetted moderator. With the help of’s online, video-chat support groups, you can process hard feelings and come up with a plan for surviving the stressful holiday season.


Applebaum, A. J., Stein, E. M., Lord‐Bessen, J., Pessin, H., Rosenfeld, B., & Breitbart, W. (2014). Optimism, social support, and mental health outcomes in patients with advanced cancer. Psycho‐ Oncology, 23(3), 299-306.

Gonzalez‐Saenz de Tejada, M., Bilbao, A., Baré, M., Briones, E., Sarasqueta, C., Quintana, J. M., & Escobar, A. (2017). Association between social support, functional status, and change in health‐related quality of life and changes in anxiety and depression in colorectal cancer patients. Psycho‐oncology, 26(9), 1263-1269.


2018-03-15T15:11:46-07:00 Categories: Cancer, Support Groups|


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