Breast Cancer Emotional Health
Your breast cancer emotional health is just as important as any other aspect of your treatment. It may even affect your physical health. Options for maintaining optimal breast cancer emotional health include support groups, family therapy, or individual therapy. Your family and friends will likely want to help you during this time, and they can play an important role in your breast cancer emotional health too.
It is normal to have trouble coping with the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Some women feel anger, fear, denial, frustration, loss of control, confusion, or grief. Others feel lonely, isolated, and depressed. Some breast cancer patients may be concerned about their self-image, future priorities, and sexuality. Concerns about family members, medical bills, and possible death are also common. Like other women, you can deal with these issues and your breast cancer diagnosis in your own way and at your own pace.
You may want to talk with a friend or family member who can listen and let you sort out your feelings without giving any advice. When you reach out, you give loved ones and friends the chance to support you during this difficult time. You may want to talk about your concerns with members of your healthcare team. You will feel more confident and in control as you become comfortable with your treatment decisions.
Like other cancer survivors, you may experience an emotional letdown once treatment is completed. This could happen because you may feel that you should keep doing something to continue fighting your disease. Concerns and fears about breast cancer are likely to stay with you. A new ache or pain, or the anniversary of your diagnosis, may get you down or worried. Making appointments for follow-up exams, returning to a treatment location, and waiting for test results may be especially stressful. These feelings are part of being a cancer survivor. Having faced one of life's greatest challenges, you will find relief from these anxieties as you return to routine activities and focus on your future goals.
Many women are helped by talking about their feelings with others who have had breast cancer. Hospitals often offer support groups or meetings with counselors or psychologists. Ask your doctor if your hospital offers these services. You also may want to look into family or individual therapy. Growing numbers of therapists offer services to individuals, families, and friends affected by cancer.