Get notified of page updates

Emotional health

Most people diagnosed with cancer or at high risk for cancer have some distress. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommends that healthcare providers ask their patients about level of distress and refer patients experiencing distress to mental health professionals. Despite these guidelines, many patients do not receive the mental health care they need. It is important that you tell your doctor if you are experiencing distress, and ask about your options for referral to a mental health care provider.

People experiencing distress may benefit from the following services:

  • referral to a mental health care provider
  • referral to a financial navigator
  • antianxiety or antidepressent medications
  • an exercise program
  • pain management
  • complementary therapies such as yoga, meditation, massage
  • referral to spiritual or chaplaincy care 
  • referral to
Last updated September 28, 2020

Find Experts
Find Experts

Finding mental health experts

Support for severe distress

If you are experiencing severe distress and cannot wait for a referral to a mental health care professional, please call the experts at the National Suicide Prevention Helpline. 

  • The National Suicide Prevention Helpline is a network of crisis centers that provide free and confidential emotional support for people in suicidal crisis or extreme distress. Dial 988   

Finding professional support related to cancer distress

The following resources can help you locate a mental health expert in your area. 

Other ways to find experts

updated: 08/18/2023

Get Support
Get Support

FORCE offers many peer support programs for people with inherited mutations. 

updated: 08/06/2022

Open Clinical Trials
Open Clinical Trials

The following studies on the emotional effects of cancer are enrolling patients: 

Multiple cancers 

Breast cancer


updated: 12/21/2022