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Coping with Advanced Breast Cancer: A Roller Coaster of Emotions

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Audio and slides for this presentation are available on YouTube: http://youtu.be/-gIx9yWtsyE

Liz Farrell, LICSW, a clinical social worker with Dana-Farber's Breast Oncology program, talks about the various ways to cope with advanced breast cancer and how to handle fear, anxiety, anger, grief, and feelings of isolation. This presentation was given at the Metastatic Breast Cancer Forum held at Dana-Farber on Oct. 5, 2013. The program was sponsored by EMBRACE (Ending Metastatic Breast Cancer for Everyone).

Published in: Health & Medicine
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Coping with Advanced Breast Cancer: A Roller Coaster of Emotions

  1. 1. Liz Farrell, LICSW Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  2. 2. Feeling Isolated Coping Strategy  Seek support either individually or in a group setting
  3. 3. Anxiety Coping strategies        Meditation Mindfulness Exercise Journaling Regaining a sense of control Education Spirituality
  4. 4. Fear Coping Strategies • Identify the fear • Face the fear • Talk with your team about your fears
  5. 5. Anger Coping Strategies • Accept your anger • Explore your anger • Find a supportive listener
  6. 6. Stages of Grief  Denial  Anger  Bargaining  Depression  Acceptance
  7. 7. Managing long term relationships Coping Strategies • Keep open communication • Seek support • Try to understand what it’s like for the other person • Creative intimacy
  8. 8. Appearance Coping Strategies • Take time for yourself • Find ways to make yourself feel more comfortable with changes in your appearance • Consider participating in a “Look Good, Feel Better” workshop through the American Cancer Society (www.cancer.org)
  9. 9. Finding purpose and building structure Coping Strategies • Create a structure for your day even if you’re no longer working • Find something creative to do • Set short and long term goals • Try something new
  10. 10. Managing information with children Coping Strategies • Open communication • Regular check-ins • Sharing information with teachers, counselors, coaches • Stop in to the Blum Resource Center for kidpacks and a copy of “Cancer in the Family”
  11. 11. Feeling Invisible Coping Strategies • Join an established group for metastatic breast cancer patients • Join an online forum (www.mbcn.org) • Establish an informal support group in your community • Educate people about metastatic breast cancer
  12. 12. Caregiver concerns Coping Strategies • Encourage good self-care • Help caregivers find their own support
  13. 13.  “It is not hard to live through a day if you can live through a moment. What creates despair is the imagination, which pretends there is a future and insists on predicting millions of moments, thousands of days, and so drains you that you cannot live the moment at hand.” --André Dubus

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