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Meaning and Purpose after a blood cancer diagnosis

“When we’re faced with life-threatening illness, we have an opportunity that other people don’t have, a chance to really think about how we’re going to make something good come out of this.”

Sue McConaghey

It is normal to worry, to question your existence and life when you receive a blood cancer diagnosis. A blood cancer diagnosis can alter your perception of yourself and often leads to questioning what your life has been about. Your life starts to revolve around blood cancer and thinking about the future. Research has found that the presence of meaning increases your quality of life, health outcomes and wellbeing.

Your personal values impact the meaning and importance of things in your life, and this will be different for each person. This includes:

This video with Dr Russ Harris may help:

Life and purpose

Life suddenly appears fragile. Blood cancer may feel like a second chance to make your life what you want. You could ask yourself some hard questions:

  • Have I postponed things that are important to me?
  • How do I really want to spend my time?
  • What has changed and how do I work with this?
  • What you have accomplished, stood for, and meant to others?

The answers might help you define what is most meaningful to you.


Spirituality means different things to different people. Everyone has their own feelings about the meaning of life – it’s very personal. Some people find meaning through religion or looking to a higher power. Some people find it by teaching or through volunteer work. Others find it in different ways, such as being in nature or through meditation.

Research shows that spirituality is an essential factor. It provides a context for cancer patients to derive hope and meaning to cope with their illness from:

  • diagnosis
  • treatment
  • survival
  • recurrence
  • and dying

A sense of spirituality can serve as a protector that buffers the deteriorating impacts of life, stress and illness.


Your values may change after learning you have blood cancer. You might find comfort in exploring more deeply what is meaningful to you. The things you own and the everyday may seem less important. You may decide to spend more time with loved ones or helping others. You may feel like you’re learning what things are most important to you and who you want to be with the most. Perhaps you are able to find gratitude and contentment in smaller things.

Tips for finding purpose

Hints and tips that may help you find meaning and purpose in your life:

  • Connect with others
  • Use a journal to keep track of your thoughts and feelings
  • Explore creative outlets such as art, photography, or music
  • Spend time in quiet thought or meditation
  • Enjoy nature
  • Take a photo a day, or once a week
  • Just move, anywhere, anytime
  • Keep a gratitude journal
  • Help others through volunteering and advocacy
  • Look for spiritual guidance and exploring your own beliefs
  • Try new activities or things to get out of your comfort zone
  • Balancing life through a re-evaluation of importance
  • Recognise your strengths and talents and use these
  • Identify the things you care about
  • Be intentional in how you spend time

More information

We have included links to some other great resources for you.

Online Blood Cancer Support Service

Get personalised blood cancer information and support

Read more and join now

Join our next support group

View our event calendar for upcoming dates

View the calendar

Chat with a Support Coordinator

Speak with our Blood Cancer Support Coordinators via our Online Blood Cancer Support Service

Reach out now

Last updated on May 1st, 2024

Developed by the Leukaemia Foundation in consultation with people living with a blood cancer, Leukaemia Foundation support staff, haematology nursing staff and/or Australian clinical haematologists. This content is provided for information purposes only and we urge you to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis, treatment and answers to your medical questions, including the suitability of a particular therapy, service, product or treatment in your circumstances. The Leukaemia Foundation shall not bear any liability for any person relying on the materials contained on this website.