For most, if not all women, a diagnosis of breast cancer elicits a wide range of emotions – fear, shock and anxiety, even fury, are among the most common. Such is the fear of breast cancer that women fear it more than heart disease despite the fact that they have a higher chance of survival with the former and then later dying with the latter!
Emotions, indeed, run high with breast cancer. Fortunately, coping with your emotions is possible so that you can have a more positive attitude toward the disease.
Breast cancer affects women in a strong manner. Women report emotions during and after their doctors give them the diagnosis including:
- Sadness and even depression
- Guilt induced by self-blame
- Alienation and loneliness
The hopeful emotions that you may feel after your diagnosis is understandable, too. The survival rate for breast cancer in women is high nowadays, thanks to advances in its treatment from radiation and chemotherapy to surgery.
The mind and body are connected in many ways that scientists have yet to understand but your body will be reacting to your emotions. Of course, your body will also be reacting to the drugs and surgery related to breast cancer treatment.
Your physical responses to both emotional and physical stimuli can include: (Emotion and then the possible physical response)
- Fear. You may have difficulty in falling and staying asleep, frequent headaches, and body aches.
- Anger. Your blood pressure can fluctuate with it rising in proportion to your feelings of anger toward others, yourself and your cancer.
- Depression. You will feel moody, fatigued and irritable with frequent bouts of crying brought by a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.
- Stress. You will feel physical tension in your muscles coupled with pain. Your level of irritability also increases with the tension of waiting for results or dealing with the physical side effects of the treatment protocol (e.g., extreme nausea).
Truly, breast cancer becomes both a physical and psychological issue that must be addressed head-on. But don’t face it by yourself because the love and support of your family and friends are essential in your fight against the disease.
Even expressing your feelings to your family, friends and doctor can provide a great sense of relief that you are not alone and that you can beat breast cancer. Otherwise, your unwillingness to share your emotional burdens can worsen your sense of alienation, loneliness and frustration, if not despair and depression. Your concerns about recurrence, loss of attractiveness, and lack of sexual function, among others, should be discussed especially with your loved ones – they, too, can help!
You have the opportunity to improve your mental health and reduce your physical symptoms by adopting a few effective coping strategies. Communicate with your family and friends. Maintain physical intimacy with your partner even without the sex (e.g., cuddling and kissing). Join support groups and talk with your counselor. Enjoy the company of your family and friends.
Most important, be actively involved in your treatment! Your active involvement will go a long way toward making you feel in control. If you have any question you can call 888-719-8448 or visit any of our locations, such as our Colton Office near Rialto, Bloomington, San Bernardino, Loma Linda, Highgrove, and Grand Terrace.
Healthpointe is a leading multidisciplinary healthcare organization offering a full range of medical services in practice locations throughout Southern California (Los Angeles county, Orange county, San Bernardino county and Riverside county). Healthpointe has locations situated in over 10 cities in Southern California including La Mirada, which is conveniently located near Whittier, La Habra, Norwalk, Cerritos, Buena Park and Santa Fe Springs. As a highly regarded musculoskeletal group, we have a personal investment in the highest level of service, and we are proud of our record of excellence over the last four decades with private patients, injured workers, urgent care, personal injuries, and professional and non-professional athletes. Leading our organization is a dynamic team of healthcare professionals who continually strive to be at the forefront of medical innovation and healthcare service delivery. For more information, a complete list of services, and Healthpointe locations, visit healthpointe.net