Living in Pink: The Emotional Challenges of Breast Cancer
Living in Pink The Emotional Challenges of Breast Cancer By: Kaitlyn Jaeger
1in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime American Cancer Society
For those women, being diagnosed with For those women, breast cancer can be an emotional experience.
Some of the emotions they may experience include: ANXIETY FEAR PANIC SADNESS GUILT DEPRESSION American Cancer Society
And they aren’t alone...Breast Cancer affects EVERYONE in their lives. Brown (2007)
An Uncertain Future ??? Physical Side EffectsEmotional stresscan be caused Job Concerns by: Relationships Financial Concerns $$$ LIVESTRONG
Having breast cancer can beoverwhelming, but there are things you can do to help overcome or reduce emotional stress.
Keep a Positive Attitude Motivating yourself to think positively can be difficult, but having a positive attitude can actually give your immune system a boost. Take time out of each day to do something nice for yourself and try practicing mind-over-matter techniques. Brown (2007)
Be Open about Your Feelings Many breast cancer patients have found that building a support network can be a great way of dealing with emotions. I feel... Try to find someone you can talk to about your feelings, concerns, and any decisions you may need to make. They can be friends, family members, counselors, members of a support, etc. clevelandclinic.org, mskcc.org
Exercise Regularly With breast cancer, there are a lot of things that you can’t control, but you can control how often you exercise. Studies have shown the regular exercise tends to help women cope and function at higher levels than those who don’t. One of its many beneficial effects is that exercise releases natural endorphins that effect brain chemistry, neurotransmitter levels, and mood. These endorphins can provide a sense of well-being and pleasure. Link (2002)
Eat Well-Balanced Meals Your diet is another area that you have control over. Eating a well-balanced diet, along with exercise, can actually help reduce the risk of developing cancer or the chance of cancer spreading. However, don’t think that it is meant to be a replacement for treatment. Talk to your physician or nutritionist about setting up a diet plan that compliments your needs as a breast cancer patient. The US Oncology Network
Get Plenty of Sleep It is important to try and get a good night’s sleep because it may determine how well your body fights off cancer. Z ZZ Quality sleep can effect: Cancer-related fatigue How well you deal with pain and other stressors The effectiveness of chemotherapy Fusion Sleep
Learn to Relax Breast cancer can be overwhelming, but it’s important to keep calm and try to relax. There are a number of exercises that you can do to help you relax. These include two-minute, mind, and deep breathing relaxation exercises. When performing these exercises, find a quiet place away from any distractions that is comfortable and that will put you in good state of mind. clevelandclinic.org BreastCancer.org
“The most powerful tool that you have in the fight to manage this crisis is your ability to think andFor those women, feel...you will begin to move again, and when you do, it is important to remember that you have the final word with breast cancer - you will decide the place this disease will assume in your life, while in treatment and beyond.” - John Link, M.D. Link (2002)
ReferencesAmerican Cancer Society (2012). What is distress. Retrieved from http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/emo-tionalsideeffects/distressinpeoplewithcancer/distress-in-people-with-cancer-what-is-distressMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (2012). Emotional Issues. Retrieved from http://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/adult/breast/ emotional-issuesThe Cleveland Clinic Foundation (2009). Emotional aspects of breast cancer. Retrieved from http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/Breast_Can cer/hic_Emotional_Aspects_of_Breast_Cancer.aspxWood-Moen, R. (2010). Emotional effects of breast cancer. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/162221-emotional- effects-of-breast-cancer/Beirut, Julia (2010). Mental effects of breast cancer. Retrieved from http://www.livestrong.com/article/78853-mental-effects-breast-cancer/FusionSleep (2012). Sleep and cancer. Retrieved from http://www.fusionsleep.com/sleep-and-your-health/sleep-health-and-illness/ sleep-and-cancer/The US Oncology Network (2012). How diet & exercise help you fight cancer. Retrieved from http://www.usoncology.com/patients/Your Journey/ManagingYourTreatment/DietExerciseLink, J. (2002). Take charge of your breast cancer: A guide to getting the best possible treatment. New York: Henry Holt and Company.Brown, K. & Freeman, H.P. (2007). 100 questions and answers about breast cancer: Second edition. Massachusetts: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.