Mental health and a Breast Cancer diagnosis

Don’t give up! We know that a breast cancer diagnosis can be terrifying, worrying, and shocking/surprising experience which has caused patients to give-up pre-maturely. It may cause them to not have HOPE. May cause them to live in fear of what’s next. According to many studies, a breast cancer diagnosis is known to affect women, their husbands, and their families, leaving them in sorrow.

The quality of marital relationship has been shown to be a critical contributor towards the quality of life for women with breast cancer and the diagnosis may result in an even closer relationship with their husbands according to the one study Coping with a diagnosis of breast cancer among Omani women.

The ways to cope with a breast cancer diagnosis have many common emotions in those diagnosed, those include:

• Shock/Surprise: may range from complete denial to just acting as if nothing is wrong  
• Fear: people are anxious they are going to die
• Guilt: people may blame themselves for choices they made in the past that could be related to the diagnosis or feel guilt for troubling, loved ones who must take on extra duties
• Loss: a person’s self-image and identity can be taken over by cancer and treatments

Other treatment symptoms that could trigger emotions.

• Anemia
• Appetite Loss
• Bleeding and Bruising (Thrombocytopenia)
• Constipation
• Delirium
• Diarrhea
• Edema (Swelling)
• Fatigue
• Fertility Issues
• Flu-Like Symptoms
• Hair Loss (Alopecia)
• Memory or Concentration Problems
• Mouth and Throat Problems
• Nausea and Vomiting
• Pain
• Skin and Nail Changes
• Sleep Problems 
• Urinary and Bladder Problems
• difficulty concentrating
• social isolation
• sexuality concerns
• self-blame

The list of emotions and symptoms is long. But, despite it all, you are a warrior! You can manage these emotions. It is very important to get to a place of accepting of your new reality/normal. To move forward you must go through many stages of grief to understand where you are currently and where you need to be. I will cover the Stages of Grief in a future blog.

Although, difficult don’t give up and continue to put one foot in front of the other!.

don’t give up and continue