What can I do to help myself?

Many people feel that there is nothing they can do when they are told they have cancer. They feel not in control and helpless for a while. If you feel this way, there are practical ways you can help yourself.



A balanced, nutritious diet will help to keep you well and able to cope with any side effects of treatment. The Cancer Society’s booklet Eating Well during Cancer Treatment/Kia Pai te Kai te wā Maimoatanga Matepukupuku provides useful advice about nutrition and diet during treatment. You can get a copy by phoning the Cancer Information Helpline 0800 CANCER (226 237) or by contacting your local Cancer Society office. 

The hospital will also have a dietitian who can help you. If you have a stoma, your stomal therapist will give you tips on what to eat while your stoma is settling down.

Staying active

Research has indicated that people who keep active cope better with their treatment than those who do not. Ask your doctor what kind of exercise is best for you. For more information, you can read the Cancer Society’s brochure Being Active When You Have Cancer.

Relaxation techniques

Some people find that relaxation or meditation help them to feel better. The hospital social worker or nurse or your local Cancer Society may know whether the hospital runs any relaxation programmes. They may also be able to advise you on local community programmes.

The Cancer Society has some relaxation resources, which are available on CD or through our website.

• Wellington Division’s Relaxation and Visualisation see the link.

• Auckland/Northland Division’s Relaxation and Mindfulness see the link