A breast cancer diagnosis can bring emotional challenges, but things get better with time. – Leanne
Women often describe breast cancer as an emotional rollercoaster. You may find you have many ups and downs during your journey. While it may be challenging emotionally at first, many women tell us it gets easier over time.
Dealing with the new you
Breast cancer can bring about many changes in your life. Once your treatment is over, you may feel different about yourself and your relationships. Taking the time to get used to the ‘new you’ is an important part of your breast cancer journey. In fact, many women tell us that they have found new approaches to life and have re-prioritised their values and focus after their breast cancer.
‘Cancer has helped me re-evaluate what is important in life. Where possible I have discarded the negatives. I endeavour to make the most of life – being involved with others, but also ensuring there is space for me.’ - Ruth
Here are some suggestions that may help you to stay well emotionally:
- Talk to others – sharing stories with those who have been there before can bring comfort and support
- Try complementary therapies such as relaxation and meditation
- Keep a journal of your experiences – writing about your feelings can be a powerful release
- Try to exercise regularly; it can help to reduce anxiety, stress and depression
- If you are feeling anxious or stressed, talk to your GP or breast care nurse about your feelings
- If stress, anxiety, sadness or anger become intense or continue for a long time, you may be experiencing depression. BCNA and beyondblue have produced an Anxiety, depression and breast cancer fact sheet that you might find helpful.
My advice is to connect with a support group and see a professional who deals with oncology for your emotional wellbeing. They really understand, and don’t tell you to ‘get over it’. – Larissa
For more information on emotional wellbeing and breast cancer, you might like to:
- Join our online network to talk to others and share experiences.
- Read issue 55 of The Beacon which includes an article on the challenges that women face after treatment is finished.
- Read the work of leading author and breast cancer survivor, Stephanie Dowrick. She has a number of books focusing on wellbeing.
- Phone the Cancer Council on 13 11 20 to find out about peer support programs in your area.