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Each woman’s will have a different experience with breast cancer diagnosis and treatment as life changes in a moment’s time. This diagnosis may be your first, or may be a recurrence, or new cancer after being cancer free.
The following three questions will always be there:
These are normal thoughts to have and good questions to ask. How you process these thoughts and feelings can impact how you cope through your cancer treatment and after treatment is complete.
It is normal for women to experience some or all of these feelings after a cancer diagnosis, and research has found that women who seek emotional support during and after a cancer diagnosis experience less stress, depression, anxiety, and isolation.
In addition, many women also struggle with other issues and concerns such as:
Treatment side effects, such as hair loss, fatigue and “chemo brain”
Thoughts about mortality, or death and dying
Navigating the hospital and medical system
Intimacy and dating during and after a cancer diagnosis
Sexuality: changes in sexual desire, intimacy
Medically-induced menopause (vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse, etc)
Loss of breasts & body image and self-esteem
Lymphedema and its side effects
Work related issues: sharing your diagnosis in the work place, applying for dissability, returning to work during and after treatment
Financial stressors, such as medical co-pays and drug costs
How to talk to loved ones including children about cancer
Getting back to “normal” after treatment ends
Fear of recurrence: “Will my cancer return?”
Staying healthy and eating healthy during and after treatment
Living with chronic illness (metastatic disease)
Choosing complimentary or alternative treatment options