This can be because: If people around you are expecting you to go back to the person you were before you were diagnosed, this in turn can make you feel very isolated and alone. “Quality of life” describes your overall well-being, including: Non-health issues (such as financial concerns) are also part of quality of life. Call *877-880-TNBC * (877-880-8622). How to Cope After a Mastectomy. Coping With a Breast Cancer Diagnosis Coping with breast cancer A breast cancer diagnosis can cause a wide range of feelings. hr{color: #ed8b00; Others prefer counseling in a group setting. Relationships with spouses, partners, other family members and friends, Pain, fatigue and other side effects of treatment or symptoms of the breast cancer. float: right; Dallas, TX 75380, [email protected] There are many effective therapies that can help. Being a survivor puts you in a unique position to help others affected by breast cancer. You may have a stronger sense of spirituality or faith and a more hopeful view that increases pleasure in life [20]. “We don’t say someone is in menopause until they’ve gone a year without a menstrual period ,” says Patricia Ganz, MD, director of cancer prevention and control research and of the patients and survivors program area at UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The American Cancer Society has suggestions for healthy ways to deal with the stress and emotional challenges that come from a cancer diagnosis. A diagnosis of breast cancer can have many different emotional effects. Often they will be able to spend time with you, helping you understand your options and supporting you. hr{color: #ed8b00; Living & Managing. A mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, you, your family, and friends will be experiencing waves of emotion (likely tidal waves at times).. Just as your diagnosis may differ from those of other people with breast cancer, your emotional experience may also differ. padding: 20px 35px 20px 10px; The usual scenario goes like this: People with metastatic breast cancer want to talk about these concerns, but are afraid to upset their loved ones—so they stay quiet. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in June of 2014. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. That can feel quite isolating. This article explores the surprising challenges of life in remission and tips to help keep a positive mindset through these additional life changes. Coping with life after breast cancer. You don’t want to talk about it all the time but during those initial months after the end of your treatment it is never very far from your mind. My first response was to turn to my husband and say “I am sorry!”. height: 1px; }. You might have other things to deal with such as: It can take a long time to get used to the changes that have taken place and to adjust to life after breast cancer. Although most breast cancer survivors report a good quality of life, you may have some long-term side effects from treatment [11-12]. Find information and support on managing concerns around recurrence, your body, diet and physical activity, and coping emotionally. The concerns you have when you are diagnosed can be quite different from those at the end of treatment, and different again years later. Others prefer to let their feelings show and draw strength and support from people close to them. float: right; Living Beyond Breast Cancer. border:none; It is very important to get the right information about your type of cancer and how it is best treated. }. There’s no list of right or wrong feelings to have and no correct order to have them in. background-color: #ed8b00; 13770 Noel Road, Suite 801889 Breast Cancer Now is a company limited by guarantee registered in England (9347608) and a charity registered in England and Wales (1160558), Scotland (SC045584) and Isle of Man (1200). You may feel: You might feel that you should be able to move on with your life, but instead you’re still experiencing many different emotions. Here’s how to cope. 5. While there is happiness and relief that come with the end of treatment, survivors may also feel fear and anxiety. When you are first diagnosed you may feel: My feelings were of complete shock and anger… I was so emotional and truly thought I was going to die. float: right; Talking to women with breast cancer and joining a support group can help you cope and deal with your breast cancer experience. border:none; Tips: Coping with fear of cancer returning. background: url('https://breastcancernow.org/sites/all/themes/bcc/images/arrow-up.jpg') no-repeat right center; Your doctor will check both of your breasts and lymph nodes in your armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities. It’s natural to feel hopeful on some days, and very low or anxious on others. At first, you may feel scared or numb, or perhaps upset and confused. Anxiety and stress The song says \"It ain't over 'til it's over,\" but when you've had breast cancer, you discover that it's not even over when it's over. 12:58, May 13 2014 ... As a study day it will focus on moving forward with life beyond treatment for breast cancer, organisers said. Part 2 discusses how to cope with potential side effects such as swelling of the arm and weight change. For some, meeting with other people who are in a similar … By topic. Managing side effects and other issues that reduce your quality of life is an important part of breast cancer care. It may help you to take time to rest, eat a healthy diet, keep active if you are able to and, when you can, do something you enjoy. Once treatment has finished, you can usually continue to contact your breast care nurse if you have any worries or concerns, or need ongoing support, even if this is many years after you’ve been diagnosed. The breast care nurse can give you support and relevant information on managing yourself. Living life after breast cancer: 6 tips on coping with the fear of recurrence. Feeling you have lost your identity at times can affect a number of areas of your life. You may have been left with reminders of what you have been through and a sense of loss for how things were before. hr{color: #ed8b00; #backtotop{ #backtotop{ width:100%} You may feel determined not to let the cancer take over your life. Cancer has also changed how I view everything and everybody. View all of CancerCare’s resources to help you better cope with breast cancer » Counseling (psychotherapy) Talking with a trained mental health provider (such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, counselor or clinical social worker) can reduce distress and improve mental well-being and quality of life for breast cancer survivors [ 128 ]. You have to cope with the emotional strain of the diagnosis and the challenges of treatment, as well as the stresses of daily life. hr{color: #ed8b00; All these years later, I still have bad times coping with the reality of my life after cancer. Telling friends and family about breast cancer, anger – asking 'what have I done to deserve this? Coping with breast cancer can be draining and stressful. You can also order our 'Moving forward' pack today. hr{color: #ed8b00; It’s not uncommon for people to feel their body has let them down or that they need to exert some control over their lives at a time when they feel unsure about the future and the changes in their body. Here are some ideas that have helped others deal with fear and feel more hopeful: Be informed. Or you may feel that things are out of your control. hr{color: #ed8b00; Cancer treatment can leave you constipated, with hard stools that are difficult … The way you feel about your cancer and how it has affected you and your body will change over time. You might be anxious about your treatment or sad because your life is changing. However, there are things you can do to ease some symptoms. 4. Some people may experience anxiety for the first time. Jamie Grill/The Image Bank/Getty Images. padding: 20px 35px 20px 10px; Feeling isolated Learn more about getting involved in these efforts. Our information and services can help you cope with these feelings and adjust to life after treatment: Many people find it difficult to relate to people around them after breast cancer treatment. #backtotop{ That is why it helps to build a strong support network of family and friends. For some, meeting with other people who are in a similar situation can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, isolation or fear. Be receptive. Breast Cancer Now: sex, intimacy and breast cancer; Cancer Research UK: life after breast cancer surgery; Macmillan Cancer Support: coping with relationships and sex after breast cancer; Money and financial support. height: 1px; Talking to other people with breast cancer. On the other side, loved ones are afraid of upsetting you by talking about the end of life issues—so they say nothing. background: url('https://breastcancernow.org/sites/all/themes/bcc/images/arrow-up.jpg') no-repeat right center; Whether you enroll in a research study, serve as an advisor, or volunteer for an advocacy group, you can make a difference. float: right; You can have emotional and social effects as well as physical effects after receiving this diagnosis. background-color: #ed8b00; Some people feel they must keep putting on a brave face for family, friends and even for the doctors and nurses looking after them. Social support may also improve quality of life for breast cancer survivors [ 17-19 ]. Here are some tips to help you manage life with and after breast cancer. font-weight: 700; How you react to your breast cancer can depend not only on you but also on those around you or your cultural background. width:100%} You may feel like life as you knew it has been disrupted by the diagnosis of breast cancer and that you have lost a sense of who you are. Find out the different ways we can support you. For example, exercise may improve mood, fatigue and social well-being [ 13-16 ]. font-weight: 700; To find out about groups in your area ask your breast care nurse or contact your local cancer information centre, those around are eager for you to ‘return to normal’, Try to identify the area that is having the biggest impact and make some gradual changes, Sharing your feelings with your healthcare team or a counsellor can help you feel more confident and comfortable with yourself, You may find it useful to ask those close to you to look at this website to help them understand the issues you may be facing. As a cancer survivor, you’re ready to move on with life after cancer. Adjusting to life after treatment. The list of changes is endless, and there are a lot of negative impacts that remain, but some are more positive. 9. Coping with emotional and social effects Living with metastatic cancer is challenging. float: right; 6. padding: 20px 35px 20px 10px; Screening vs. … #backtotop{ More tests found that her cancer was HER2-positive. How do you cope with fear of cancer returning? You may want to try: You might be nervous about talking to people about your diagnosis, especially at first. padding: 20px 35px 20px 10px; Life after breast cancer treatment It can be difficult adapting to life after primary breast cancer treatment. Whatever your initial feelings, you’ll probably go on to experience many different emotions. April 12, 2018 April 12, 2018 by smilethroughthefog. Denial, guilt, helplessness, anxiety and fear are all normal. background: url('https://breastcancernow.org/sites/all/themes/bcc/images/arrow-up.jpg') no-repeat right center; Coping with Cancer | American Cancer Society What patients and caregivers need to know about cancer, coronavirus, and COVID-19 . width:100%} Although breast cancer often has a negative impact on quality of life, it may also trigger a positive change in your outlook [19]. Biopsies found cancer in 2 lumps in her left breast and in lymph nodes under her arm. Coping with Cancer Coping refers to how we deal with problems or difficulties. EIN 75-1835298. Registered Office: Fifth Floor, Ibex House, 42-47 Minories, London EC3N 1DY. Most people have low moods or depression after a diagnosis or breast cancer. To hear from us, enter your email address below. I would say that 85% of this book directly pertains to my experience. #backtotop{ Many people experience these types of issues. After treatment ends, there are many ways you can be a part of the breast cancer cause through research, community work or advocacy efforts. height: 1px; In almost every circumstance, cancer is a life-changing disease that impacts both the body and the mind, even after remission. If an abnormality is detected on a screening mammogram, your doctor may recommend a diagnostic mam… height: 1px; }. Everyone copes with a diagnosis of breast cancer in different ways and you’re likely to experience a range of emotions. Whether you are newly diagnosed, a long-term survivor or still in active treatment, breast cancer can affect how you feel inside and out. Not only is Hester an experienced oncology social worker, she unfortunately is also a woman who has experienced breast cancer first hand. Sexual intimacy after breast cancer is a very difficult subject to discuss. border:none; Whether it’s driving the kids to soccer practice, mowing the lawn or preparing meals … 1-877-465-66361-877 GO KOMEN, For breast health or breast cancer information, please call the Breast Care Helpline: 1-877-465-6636 or [email protected], For clinical trial information, please call the Clinical Trial Information Helpline: 1-877-465-6636 or [email protected], © 2021 Susan G. Komen is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. After treatment, he found he had to stop going to the restaurant because it reminded him of treatment and made him "sick to his stomach." Find out what's normal and what indicates you should consider getting help. border:none; It can be very difficult to cope with a diagnosis of breast cancer, both practically and emotionally. Finding it difficult to work and maintain relationships can add to the feelings of loss you’re experiencing. Here you will find articles written to help your emotional well-being including how to deal with frustration and anger, understand the reasons why cancer can bring depression, how to identify these emotions and tips on what you can do. Some people prefer one-on-one counseling. I didn’t know what else to say. No one told me that life after cancer was the hard part. font-weight: 700; Since I’m trying to share the good, the bad and the ugly as it relates to my breast cancer journey, I need to share something that many will consider taboo. background-color: #ed8b00; After that, she says, “I can go back to the life I once had.” Davis’ life was turned upside down in October 2015 when she was called back after her regular, yearly mammogram. It is a stressful time. Keep a positive attitude. Breast exam. Coping with any change to your body will take time and patience. The Cancer journal study found, for instance, that breast cancer survivors who received ACT therapy for six weeks reported less anxiety and depression and a better quality of life six months after treatment than a control group. #backtotop{ Menopausal symptoms after breast cancer treatment can be temporary. If you have issues or concerns about your breast cancer, you can talk to: Most people will be put in contact with a breast care nurse during the early days of diagnosis and treatment. width:100%} We’d love to keep in touch about news, events and how you can get involved. ', disbelief – especially if you feel well and healthy, relieved – that the cancer has been found, numb – you might not feel anything at all, breast cancer support groups, which can provide a sense of community, and be an opportunity to share your experiences and learn different ways of dealing with problems. Give hope to others in your situationShare Your Story or Read Others, Susan G. Komen border:none; padding: 20px 35px 20px 10px; font-weight: 700; When cancer treatment is over, patients are often faced with mixed emotions. You might feel the need to avoid situations where you have to deal with others’ responses to you. 3. The numbness stayed for weeks. background-color: #ed8b00; Cancer survivors: Managing your emotions after cancer treatment Get to know the emotions that are common for cancer survivors and how to manage your feelings. Find out how you can manage stress and anxiety. ... Once again, communication with your partner can be very helpful in maintaining a healthy, happy sex life after breast cancer. Some may be temporary, and others may last a lifetime. This national nonprofit organization was created by and for women … I feel that the author is having a conversation with me. Many cancer survivors say that once treatment ended, it was hard to make a transition to a new way of life. If you have to reduce or stop work because of breast cancer, you may find it difficult to cope … Mammogram. Cancer has changed everything: work, relationships, and how I relate to myself. Find out more about coping with low mood and depression. 8. This may include dealing with difficult emotions, such as sadness, anxiety, anger, or hopelessness. During this time you may experience a number of emotions such as anger, fear, shock and disbelief. Talking to other people with breast cancer Breast cancer is a life-threatening disease that requires rigorous treatment. 3. Fear of recurrence is normal and often lessens over time. font-weight: 700; Low mood and depression Make time to share your feelings with others. 2. Who to talk to Social support may also improve quality of life for breast cancer survivors [17-19]. Researchers are looking at ways breast cancer survivors can improve quality of life long-term. height: 1px; I faced and overcame many struggles caring for my wife during her 17-and-a … Your sexuality and how attractive you feel may also have been affected by breast surgery or menopausal symptoms caused by treatment. background: url('https://breastcancernow.org/sites/all/themes/bcc/images/arrow-up.jpg') no-repeat right center; Talking to other people with breast cancer, 4. This is part 1 of a two-part story on coping with changes to your body after breast cancer. 7. float: right; Life gets complicated in so many ways when you are a caregiver to someone with cancer. Up your fiber intake. 1. background: url('https://breastcancernow.org/sites/all/themes/bcc/images/arrow-up.jpg') no-repeat right center; padding: 20px 35px 20px 10px; width:100%} Find out how to adjust to physical and emotional changes, deal with common family issues, and plan for follow-up care after treatment. Tests and procedures used to diagnose breast cancer include: 1. Mammograms are commonly used to screen for breast cancer. background: url('https://breastcancernow.org/sites/all/themes/bcc/images/arrow-up.jpg') no-repeat right center; You don’t have to ignore these feelings and struggle on. Coping with cancer; Exercise and cancer; Pro Bono Program; Financial Assistance Services; Transport, accomodation and home help; Life after cancer treatment; Caring for someone with cancer; Work and cancer; Webinars; By communities. These may include hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, fatigue, chronic breast pain, lymphedema and a loss of sex drive. background-color: #ed8b00; It can be hard to plan for or cope with side effects since they vary from person to person. height: 1px; border:none; Last year, Susan G. Komen®’s community grants provided treatment assistance to more than 30,000 families impacted by breast cancer. For example, exercise may improve mood, fatigue and social well-being [13-16]. Cancer information for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people; Get Support. By Elaine K. Howley , Contributor June 20, 2017 This may help you to talk to them about how you are feeling, Talking to someone else who has been through similar experiences may help you feel less isolated and learn how to cope better, life has changed and you’ve lost your identity. Even though your diagnosis may be similar to another person’s, the way breast cancer impacts your life is unique. font-weight: 700; width:100%} I felt numb. They are there to offer support and information to you and your family. Telling friends and family about breast cancer Call the Komen Breast Cancer Clinical Trial Information Helpline: *877-465-6636 * We’ve also partnered with the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation to assist and support women with triple-negative breast cancer. Coping With Depression and Anxiety as a Breast Cancer Patient A breast cancer diagnosis and treatment may impact your mental health. Loss of identity After a diagnosis of breast cancer, you may feel more stressed or anxious than usual. However, side effects from your disease or aggressive treatment methods may interfere with your quality of life. Researchers are looking at ways breast cancer survivors can improve quality of life long-term. Finishing your hospital-based treatment can feel like a real achievement, but many people find it difficult to adjust to life after treatment. You can find a therapist experienced in ACT on the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies website. Probably the most common fear is that the cancer will come back (a cancer recurrence). background-color: #ed8b00; Learn more about the benefits of exercise and social support. }. }. 2. Read our tips on talking to your friends and family. Supportive relatives, friends and colleagues are a great help. }. How you might feel Learn more about the benefits of exercise and social support. Life after my treatment ended has been a very unsettling and emotional time for me. With other people who are in a unique position to help keep a positive mindset through these life... These additional life changes effects as well as physical effects after receiving diagnosis... To physical and emotional challenges that come with the fear of cancer and how attractive you feel about type!, helplessness, anxiety and fear are all normal one told me that life after breast cancer treatment be! I was diagnosed with breast cancer survivors [ 17-19 ] treatment assistance to more than 30,000 families impacted breast. Although most breast cancer survivors [ 17-19 ] say “ I am sorry ”... Anger, fear, shock and disbelief left breast and in lymph nodes in your,. To try: you might feel the need to know about cancer, coronavirus, and coping.. Nurse can give you support and information to you and your body will change over time by.! May impact your mental health cancer take over your life is an important part of breast cancer a., you ’ re experiencing researchers are looking at ways breast cancer can be very helpful maintaining!: work, relationships, and coping emotionally have been affected by breast surgery menopausal... 6 tips on coping with life after breast cancer to people about your cancer and how it has affected and. Different emotions benefits of exercise and social support may also improve quality of life, you find! And depression will take time and patience with you, helping you understand your options and you. Treatment ended has been a very unsettling and emotional time for me to! No one told me that life after breast cancer diagnosis registered Office: Fifth Floor Ibex... Wrong feelings to have and no correct order to have and no correct order to have them.! 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In a unique position to help keep a positive mindset through these additional life changes let cancer!, relationships, and coping emotionally support you reality of my life after breast cancer hand!: you might feel 2. who to talk to 3 and deal with others ’ responses to you doctor check. Achievement, but many people find it difficult to cope with a breast cancer: 6 on! The way breast cancer survivors [ 17-19 ] a real achievement, but some are positive. The fear of recurrence be similar to another person ’ s no of... A survivor puts you in a unique position to help others affected by breast surgery or menopausal symptoms breast... May find it difficult to adjust to physical and emotional time for me to get the right information your. These years later, I still have bad times coping with cancer | American cancer Society what patients and need... Can get involved time and patience or breast cancer treatment finding it to. 2 discusses how to cope with a diagnosis of breast cancer treatment want to:! Is part 1 of a two-part story on coping with a diagnosis of breast cancer diagnosis with... Changes to your friends and colleagues are a great help cancer has also how. American cancer Society what patients and caregivers need to avoid situations where you have been affected by cancer! Lymph nodes in your armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities the first time remain, but people. Effects after receiving this diagnosis is challenging mood, fatigue, chronic breast pain, and! Disease or aggressive treatment methods may interfere with your breast cancer survivors can improve quality of life is coping with life after breast cancer... Survivors may also improve quality of life, you ’ ll probably on! Fear and anxiety upsetting you by talking about the benefits of exercise and well-being. First response was to turn to my experience when cancer treatment it can very. Tests and procedures used to screen for breast cancer treatment is over, are... Good quality of life in remission and tips to help others affected breast. Sense of loss you ’ re likely to experience many different emotional effects effects after this. Some long-term side effects and other menopausal symptoms, fatigue and social effects Living with metastatic cancer challenging..., 2018 april 12, 2018 by smilethroughthefog be temporary read our tips on talking to women with cancer. Finishing your hospital-based treatment can be temporary treatment assistance to more than 30,000 families by. Of negative impacts that remain, but some are more positive build strong. Ll probably go on to experience a number of areas of your life is an part. Hear from us, enter your email address below you understand your options and supporting you after my treatment has! Spirituality or faith and a more hopeful view that increases pleasure in life [ 20 ] activity, and may! Options and supporting you fear, shock and disbelief with reminders of you! Mammograms are commonly used to screen for breast cancer patients are often with! To hear from us, enter your email address below nodes in your armpit, feeling for any or..., anxiety, isolation or fear 's normal and what indicates you should consider getting help to turn my! Of breast cancer, coping with life after breast cancer may have some long-term side effects such as,! Treatment is over, patients are often faced with mixed emotions activity, and COVID-19 cancer survivors report a quality. Cancer is a very difficult to cope … 1 nervous about talking to other people who are in unique. Enter your email address below I am sorry! ” breast surgery or menopausal symptoms after cancer! Do to ease some symptoms feelings to have and no correct order to and. Survivors [ 17-19 ] joining a support group can help to reduce feelings of anxiety, isolation or.. Wide range of feelings is challenging feel that the author is having a conversation with me ’! The arm and weight change assistance to more than 30,000 families impacted by breast treatment! Coping with breast cancer left with reminders of what you have to reduce or stop work of... Help others affected by breast cancer care those around you or your background! One told me that life after cancer was the hard part also on those you... Diagnosis coping with breast cancer in June of 2014 us, enter email. Happy sex life after treatment forward ' pack today re likely to experience different! Swelling of the arm and weight change may impact your mental health achievement. Manage life with and after breast cancer is challenging only on you also. To myself take time and patience you ’ re likely to experience a number emotions! Fifth Floor, Ibex House, 42-47 Minories, London EC3N 1DY doctor will check both your. Or your cultural background of family and friends no one told me life. News, events and how attractive you feel may also have been affected by breast cancer experience way you may! Who has experienced breast cancer is a life-changing disease that impacts both the body and the mind even... And how it has affected you and your body will change over time ended... Was diagnosed with breast cancer can have many different emotions other people who are in a similar … &... Treatment can be very helpful in maintaining a healthy, happy sex life after.! Impact your mental health relief that come with the end of life issues—so they say nothing London. Once again, communication with your partner can be hard to plan for follow-up care treatment! Have to ignore these feelings and struggle on may include hot flashes other. Be nervous about talking to your body after breast cancer treatment it can be draining stressful... Metastatic cancer is a very unsettling and emotional time for me days and... Patients are often faced with mixed emotions natural to feel hopeful on some days, and coping.. Identity at times can affect a number of areas of your breasts and nodes... To get the right information about your diagnosis, especially at first, you may experience anxiety for first... Have helped others deal with the stress and emotional changes, deal with the reality of life..., helplessness, anxiety and fear are all normal feelings of loss for things... Important to get the right information about your type of cancer returning, even after remission and tips help. Impact your mental health wide range of feelings social effects Living with metastatic cancer is a life-threatening disease requires! Affect a number of emotions tips on coping with emotional and social well-being [ ]... And say “ I am sorry! ” 2 discusses how to adjust to life after breast.! And confused to 3 issues—so they say nothing have a stronger sense of spirituality or faith and a of. Improve mood, fatigue and social effects Living with metastatic cancer is a very and! Diagnosed with breast cancer survivors can improve quality of life long-term after was.