Coping with Cancer #01

Coping with Cancer

The subject of cancer is a major issue for so many people these days … it seems that there is no way to avoid it … every television programme you watch, every newspaper you read, celebrities, friends, family and work colleagues. The treatment of cancer is so much more than just the medical diagnosis and treatments; it affects every aspect of us – physically, emotionally and psychologically.

We all deal with our cancer experience in different ways, depending on who we are, and what our circumstances are at the time. However we cope, it is a very difficult time for both the patient and their carer(s), and it is important that the treatment touches all aspects of each of them, and that it must be a dialogue between the person(s) living with cancer, and the person responsible for their healing.

“I need to know that this body is my body.
And I need to know everything that is happening
to my body.
But most of all I need to know that you know,
That within my body there is me”
Michele Angelo Petrone
'The Emotional Cancer Journey'


Cathy knows only too well what it’s like to cope with cancer … both as a patient and as a carer. Since establishing her practice in 2003, she has worked extensively with people who are living with cancer, as a volunteer practitioner at the award-winning Sunrise Cancer Unit in High Wycombe (for 5 years), and in her private practice. She has also undergone training at the world-famous Bristol Cancer Help Centre (now The Penny Brohn Centre), which has helped her to gain a greater understanding of how to cope with this illness.

Please note that Cathy Ewbank is not medically trained, and she would never advise the discontinuation of any medical treatment. Her work is complementary to any medical advice or treatment, and supports the patient and carer on their cancer journey.

Coping with Cancer #02

What is the holistic approach to coping with cancer?

The holistic approach looks at all aspects of a person : their mind, their body and their feelings, and it is an interactive relationship between the client and the practitioner. It is important that people who are living with cancer understand that they can play a pivotal role in their own healing and recovery journey.

The Patient – A diagnosis of cancer is often a terrifying experience. By dealing with your illness holistically your experience may be transformed – from a crisis to an opportunity. Many people feel when they look back on their cancer journey, that they have been given the chance to make life-changing and life-enhancing decisions and they embark upon a far happier, healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle than they had before their diagnosis.

The Carer – The diagnosis of cancer in a loved-one is extremely stressful and distressing, and the carer needs support in their role. The carer needs to recognise that they also have needs, and they should be encouraged to protect and care for themselves during this time, and therefore maximise their ability to care for their loved-one during their cancer Journey.


“Healing is brought about not just by medicine.
It’s not just treatment which cures you,
but all that encompasses the human touch”
Michele Angelo Petrone
'The Emotional Cancer Journey'

Coping with Cancer #03

How can Cathy help you to cope with cancer?

Complementary therapies such as Reflexology, Indian Head Massage and EFT can be used to relax the mind and the body, thus having a direct influence on the unconscious processes of the body, which will help them to function more efficiently. Most people find the therapies extremely comforting, and they find that they facilitate the release of pent-up emotions, which they often experience as a positive thing. Often, a combination of the relaxation that is experienced combined with emotional release leads clients to feel that they are able to manage their symptoms much better. Cathy is happy to teach her clients some simple ‘self-help’ techniques, so that they are equipped with tools to help them when they are at home.

Recommended reading

  • ‘The Emotional Cancer Journey’ by Michele Angelo Petrone, available from The MAP Foundation.
  • ‘The Bristol Approach to Living with Cancer’ by Helen Cooke. ISBN 1-84119-680-0, available from Penny Brohn Centre (click on 'Shop').
  • 'The Cancer Directory' by Dr Rosy Daniel. ISBN 0007154275, available from Penny Brohn Centre (click on 'Shop') and good bookshops.
  • My thanks to The MAP Foundation for giving their permission to use quotations and images from ‘The Emotional Cancer Journey’ by Michele Angelo Petrone. Michele (who died in 2007) was a professional artist, who, following his diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Disease painted and wrote this book. He toured nationally and internationally giving workshops and presentations on the emotional issues of illness. This book is widely used by health organisations and medical institutions in education. I was fortunate enough to meet Michele in 2004 – he was an amazing and inspirational man.




    ©2017 Cathy Ewbank is powered by WebHealer :: Last Updated 16/5/2017