Did you know breast cancer is the most common cancer in American women after skin cancers? About 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer in their life.
It Takes Courage
“Once I overcame breast cancer, I wasn't afraid of anything anymore.” – Melissa Etheridge.
Battling breast cancer can be very difficult for both the patient and their loved ones. It takes strength and courage to win the battle.
Many women and individuals with breast cancer report being surprised by their own bravery and determination. They feel that they have come out the other side a more courageous and stronger version of themselves. The same goes for their loved ones. There is no denying that cancer takes a toll on people emotionally, but how they choose to deal with the challenges that arise during treatment can help improve your overall experience.
Self-Care is Crucial
If you or a loved one is battling breast cancer or has been recently diagnosed, you may be experiencing a wide variety of emotions: fear, anger, sadness, guilt, helplessness, and anxiety. That is normal! Your feelings are valid, and it is important to care for your mental health when battling breast cancer.
According to Choc Hospital, there are 5 stages of emotions most people experience when dealing with a cancer diagnosis:
- Stage 1: Denial
- Stage 2: Anger
- Stage 3: Bargaining
- Stage 4: Sadness and depression
- Stage 5: Acceptanc
Everyone copes differently and in their own way. For example, some people:
- Feel they have to be strong and protect their friends and families.
- Seek support and turn to loved ones or other cancer survivors.
- Ask for help from counselors or other professionals.
Here are some tips that may help with the wide variety of emotions you may be feeling:
- Being proactive and inquisitive can help you anticipate the steps to take when battling breast cancer. The more you know, the more in control you'll feel. Ask your doctor questions, and don't be afraid to say when you don't understand. This can help you feel prepared and reduce your anxiety moving forward.
- Don’t keep it all in. Talk to a friend, family member, or support group with those who have had cancer. You can ask your healthcare provider about support groups in your area.
Scientists are studying whether a hopeful outlook and positive attitude help people feel better. Here are some ways you can build your sense of hope:
- Plan your days as you've always done.
- Don't limit the things you like to do just because you have cancer.
- Look for reasons to have hope. If it helps, write them down or talk to others about them.
- Spend time in nature.
- Listen to stories about people with cancer who are leading active lives.
- Remember that having cancer is not your fault. Scientists don't know why one person gets cancer, and one person doesn't. All bodies are different. Remember, cancer can happen to anyone.
- Don’t try to be upbeat if you are not feeling up to it. Many people say they want to have the freedom to give in to their feelings sometimes. As one woman said, “When it gets really bad, I just tell my family I'm having a bad cancer day and go upstairs and crawl into bed.”
Here are some great finds that can make her life easier: