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Anger

People are usually angry because they passionately want things to be different. Having a cancer diagnosis can bring up feelings of anger and you might need to learn to express your anger in positive ways.
Expressing anger
There are lots of words to describe your feelings of anger. They range from mild irritation and frustration to rage and fury. Feeling angry and upset that this is happening to you is fairly common for cancer patients and their caregivers, family and friends. Anger sometimes is connected to other feelings that are hard to show—such as fear, panic, anxiety, or helplessness.

Anger can occur when your needs are not being met or respected. You may feel angry at different points throughout your cancer experience. Some people have shared that they have felt anger towards different things like:

  • the cancer
  • your healthcare team
  • family and friends
  • your body
  • your spiritual support
  • delays or obstacles in healthcare systems

Many of us have been raised with the idea that it’s not acceptable to be angry. You may feel guilty and try to deny having these feelings. It is important for you to know that at least a certain amount of anger is expected and needs to be expressed. Keeping these uncomfortable emotions inside or unexpressed can make coping much harder.


Ignoring your anger doesn’t mean it goes away; the anger may just remain hidden and perhaps come out in non-helpful or harmful ways. Unexpressed anger can also contribute to increased feelings of depression and anxiety.

As is true with other emotions, the challenge is to find ways to express/release your anger that do not negatively impact your own health or your relationships with others.

For more information, download the "Expressing Anger" handout.
When to ask for help

Ask for help when anger interferes with your ability to live life in the a way that is healthy and enjoyable for yourself or others. Meaningful anger stops you from doing what you need to get done because...


  • people may tell you that your anger is interfering with a relationship or decision.
  • you may be expressing anger through ways that are physically or emotionally harmful.
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SOURCE: Anger ( )
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