Coping with Breast Cancer ? - Must Know Tips to Recover
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Jul 05, 2021
The first question that I asked the doctor was “Is it really true?” when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I continuously felt low in spirits and had no will to live.
As soon as my reports confirmed I have breast cancer my first question to my partner was “why me, what wrong did I do?”
I asked God “I never did any harm to anybody so why HE chose me?”
These are some of the thoughts shared by women when they were diagnosed with Breast Cancer.
A breast cancer diagnosis can be overwhelming. Most people vividly remember how they felt when they were told they have breast cancer. A breast cancer patient can go through a wide variety of emotions over time while being diagnosed as well as during treatment such as denial, guilt, helplessness, shock, isolation, anxiety and fear. Anxiety and depression are two major emotional problems faced by people who are coping with a potentially life threatening illness. Coping with breast cancer requires time, acceptance, a fighting spirit and support.
Tips that can help in coping with breast Cancer:
1. Gather information about breast cancer. Learning more about cancer can help you take right choices about treatment and be aware of changes taking place in your body.
2. Talk about your emotions especially with people who care for you. This will not only make you feel better but also you will give a chance to that person to support you and thereby letting the relationship grow. You can also seek help of a counselor, social worker or other professionals. Seeking social support in a group setting by talking to others who are in a similar situation can help in decreasing feelings of anxiety, isolation or fear. You can also join Online Discussion Forum which provides opportunities to share your experiences and learn different ways of dealing with problems.
3. Spell out your needs by being specific. During treatment your friends and family can provide a crucial support network by helping you with preparing meals, help with everyday errands, shop for groceries, pick up and drop of kids to school etc.
4. Discuss your concerns with your doctor. Talk honestly with each other as it will help you gain trust and confidence. It will also enable you to work together as a team to make key decisions regarding treatment.
5. Talk to your partner about your concerns about changes in body and self image. Partners can help their loved one work through their feelings and these changes by offering them love, care, support and understanding. Cuddling, holding hands and other gentle forms of touch by partner are ways to reassure you still care and love and will not leave them during their this low phase of life.
6. Exercise is another way to deal with daily stress and improve quality of life. Exercising regularly may help regain a sense of control over their bodies, and make them feel better and stronger. Some studies suggest regular exercise after diagnosis with breast cancer may even lower the risk of potential recurrence.
7. Learning relaxation techniques and other mind/body practices can help you calm your mind and sharpen your ability to focus thereby reducing stress, anxiety and maintaining inner peace. Breathing exercises, Meditation, Guided imagery etc. are some of the techniques that can help you cope with challenges of breast cancer.
8. Eating healthy diet will help you stay stronger by giving your body the nutrients it needs. These reserves also help rebuild your body’s tissues and keep your immune system strong to help fight off infection. Besides this a healthy diet can also help you manage treatment side effects. A healthy diet is one with a variety of foods that includes lots of fruits and vegetables and regular protein, and limiting sugary foods. Chemotherapy, radiation and other cancer treatments can be hard on your body. Making healthy food choices can help you feel better and speed your recovery.
9. Fatigue is very common in people treated for cancer as tumor cells steal calories from normal cells. You need to balance activity with rest, so listen to your body and rest when you need to. Sleep pattern in cancer patients often become disrupted around the time of diagnosis and can continue during and even after treatment, main causes for which are stress and anxiety.
This can be improved by taking following steps such as :
- Regular sleep patterns
- Doing something relaxing before bedtime such as doing a jigsaw puzzle, knitting.
- Creating dark, comfortable sleep environment.
- Avoiding distractions in bedroom such as watching television or working in the bedroom.
- Limiting daytime naps to less than an hour
- Limiting amount of caffeine intake etc.
10. Avoid drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco as it will not reduce stress and anxiety associated with breast cancer. These are substances which will lower immunity and thereby increasing chances of recurrence.
Treatments may change the way a breast cancer patient looks and how they feel about themselves and their body. Most common side effects of treatment include fatigue, hair loss, and short-term hot flashes. The demands of treatment may also affect their personal relationships or make it difficult to manage their usual activities and responsibilities. By adopting these coping strategies you can reduce your stress and anxiety levels and decrease chances of recurrence.