Living with treatment

Having cancer treatment impacts on many aspects of daily living – bringing temporary or permanent changes and uncertainty.

The information on this page will help you to find out more about living day-to-day with cancer treatment.

Impact on daily living

Daily life still carries on around treatment, but often things you’d cope with normally can feel overwhelming, on top of what you're already going through.

Routines can change, there can be a lot of extra organising to do around appointments and extra things to remember.

You may be looking forward to reaching the end of treatment but feel like your experience has changed you, and wonder how you will cope.

Dealing with side effects

The side effects during and after treatment will have an impact on your ability to cope emotionally and physically day-to-day.

They will vary depending on the type of treatment you have and can affect how you look, how your body works, and how you feel.

You may find it harder to manage at different stages of your treatment.

It can help to:

  • Find out from your healthcare team what side effects to expect
  • Get information on how to manage symptoms and side effects
  • Tell your healthcare team about your side effects so they can help
  • Talk to others in similar situation in a Maggie's centre


Running a household, whilst not feeling well, can be an added responsibility. You may feel more able to manage on some days than others.

It can give you time to focus on yourself if you:

  • Get organised – think about things you can plan ahead like preparing food, shopping or arranging childcare
  • Accept offers of help – many people offer help, but are not sure what they can do. Delegating some tasks can make them feel helpful, and make things easier for you

If you live alone, and feel you’re not managing, let your GP surgery and hospital know. There may be community help available.

Work and money

For some people, it's possible to work through cancer treatment and there are lots of adjustments that can be made to make this easier. 

If it's not possible to work, you may be worried about money and how you'll cope with a reduced income.

Improve wellbeing

Focusing on your general health can be a helpful way to feel more in control and to reduce the impact of side effects.

Areas you may want to focus on include:

At Maggie's, we run courses and workshops to help you live well with cancer. Our Cancer Support Specialists will help you find out what's right for you. Find out what's on at your nearest Maggie's centre.

Spending time with other people

During treatment, it can feel like you're living in a 'cancer bubble' where life carries on around you but you feel isolated and cut off from it all. 

Sometimes you may want to be by yourself and that's ok. However, it's important to balance being alone with seeing other people.

Spending time with others, and keeping up with hobbies, can help to take your mind off what's happening and make you feel less alone.

Talking with others in similar situations can also be helpful. Come in to your nearest Maggie's centre and have a cup of tea around the kitchen table or join activities and workshops.

Managing emotions

The way you feel will change as you go through treatment.

It's normal to have good and bad days but there are ways to manage emotions to make things easier.

You may feel anxious, sad, angry, tearful or numb or that things are affecting you emotionally that you'd normally cope easily with. Some people can feel depressed. 

Your feelings are a natural response to everything you're going through. Be kind to yourself, and seek help from others if you’re feeling overwhelmed. 

If your emotions feel unmanageable or you’re very low, anxious or depressed – let your GP and hospital team know, as help is available.

You can also visit your nearest Maggie’s centre and talk things through with a Cancer Support Specialist.

How Maggie's can help

We're here for you and your family and can help you throughout your treatment in lots of ways:

  • Our Cancer Support Specialists in our centres can talk through concerns and side effects and guide you to the support that's right for you
  • Our Benefits Advisors can discuss money worries and help you claim what you're entitled to
  • Appointments with our psychologists to help manage difficult emotions
  • Relaxation and managing stress sessions
  • Eating well sessions with nutritional therapists
  • Exercise groups for all abilities including yoga, tai chi and walking
  • Getting Started courses to help you understand what's involved with treatment
  • Meeting others in similar situations round the kitchen tables in our centres

You don’t need an appointment or referral, just come in.

Last review: Oct 2021 | Next review: Oct 2022

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